It doesn’t just rain in Pittsburgh. The weather changes apparently on a whim, yet that afternoon she recognized the telltale darkening of the sky that shifted day to night and made the afternoon full of yawns and whisky-cravings. The city still exhibits an eerie calm before the rain lashes and brutally slaps the pavement, water running blood-like from the breaks to the sidewalk’s skin. Suddenly, there’s a flood. Rivers appear where none were before and she is grateful that she lives up on a hill, at both of her residences.
The next morning she soberly showered alone, the dizziness of overindulgence threatening to confuse the direction from which the water fell. Her heart raced for a second, almost as rapid as the water hitting her face and body, and then subsided. The shower rained on.
Later, her soda can crackled and hissed, bubbles – lightly mango-flavored – fought to reach the air, rather than her lips. She sipped, delicately, parched after already walking six miles. She was going to walk at least four more. Continual movement kept her heart at an even pace, and it reminded her to breathe. If, being honest with her, she also knew moving one foot in front of the other and the eventual fatigue would quiet the thoughts, quell the panic. She she walked. At least it wasn’t raining this afternoon, even though she was on the verge of dehydration.
It was supposed to be sunny Tuesday afternoon. Instead, the sky was an England-grey and heavy with multilayered clouds. She thought that she had energy, and then the fine mist started to accumulate around her. That rain was irritating. She looked ridiculous with her umbrella up, but she didn’t want to ruin her clothes again. Being caught in one of the Pittsburgh Storms was only amusing with rainboots and the promise of warmth later. This mist would make everything uncomfortable. She stared, not really looking, and walked on.
The whoosh of the water whipping around the dishwasher was comforting, although she never thought that she’d be saying that. Where she grew up, dishes were only cleaned by hand and by sink. But after first falling asleep to it 15 years ago, and having the sound reenter her life here, it felt like the perfect white noise of an embrace. The ice in her class crackled slightly as it began to melt, and she took too large a sip of her rapidly watering drink. It was strong. She felt lightheaded, a touch of panic. She pulled on a sweatshirt and chose to go to bed. It had to be clear tomorrow. It just had to.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”