By Marissa Meche
I can feel the rain inside my chest before it falls. It hasn’t always been this way—only since Momma locked me out on the night of the historic Fairview Grove Flood of ‘64. Almost died that night, almost died the two weeks following. Up and down with bouts of pneumonia from my time shivering in muddy water, hiding beneath an old sheet of tin Poppa had thrown at the house when he caught Momma writing poetry about the milkman.
Don’t know why she locked me out. Don’t think she had a reason. But ever since then, I can feel the rain before it arrives.
It’s like a tingling feeling. A burning sensation, the kind that makes you feel like you might die. Doc thinks it’s a superpower. Farmer Haldun, too. I hear my name in whispered conversations on the bread aisle when I walk by. They look at me as I pass, searching for some mark or scar or sign that the rain changed me, made me special. People don’t turn on the weather no more, they just knock on Momma’s door and ask for me.
Mr. Weatherman hates me now. I’d like to tell him I hate me now, too.
I felt the rain last night. Didn’t tell. It rained so much that little Tommy Kirk fell into Bear Creek and drowned while Mrs. Kirk watched the evening news. The cops pulled his body out this morning as Mrs. Kirk cried into Mr. Kirk’s shoulder. The neighbors yelled at Momma as she walked home from work, asking why I didn’t warn them. She didn’t say anything when she got inside, just looked at me like I was a murderer.
Maybe I am.
Don’t know why I did it. It burned so bad not to tell her. I stayed in bed, covers strapping me in, holding me down. Buckets of sweat and tears stinging cheeks as I heard the rain start, but Momma was already asleep.
I couldn’t breathe until it was over.
Maybe I’m selfish. Maybe I’m just tired.
Maybe they’ll think I lost my superpower. Maybe they’ll turn on the weather again and leave me alone.