That’s a wonderful account and it sounds just like her. I wish I could have been there! And I want to try that recipe. You have to promise not to move before we get the chance.
I am back in Paris after a week in Tunisia. Paris is now like my Monday, my second chance to get it right. My sleep schedule is fully-tuned, so I should be able to make it to the places that you have to get to in the morning if you have any hope of avoiding a killing line.
I entered Arin’s Bad Weather Writing Contest with this attempt:
It was a hard rain. The kind of rain that pelted a man, that drove him down. Each drop was like a hammer. But a very small hammer. The kind of hammer a jeweler might use, if a jeweler had any use for a hammer. Did jewelers use hammers? Simms didn’t know. But as the drops pelted him he thought, if a jeweler used a hammer, and that hammer was to hit a man repeatedly, over every inch of his soaked and salty skin, that hammer would be like this rain.
But not the hammer in general. That was too vague. The head of the hammer. The flat part that hit the nail, or whatever it was that jewelers hit with hammers. That was the part the rain resembled. The whole question really had Simms stumped. It clouded his thinking, shrouding him in fog as jet and inky as the night. Suppose a jeweler did use a hammer? What would he hit the hammer with? A tiny nail? But what use would a jeweler have for a nail? His confusion was like … like what? Like a driving rain? No. It was not like that. The rain was like a hammer. He was getting ahead of himself.
To clarify: Each drop of that hard rain struck with a certain force, but that force was limited, necessarily, by the tiny size of each raindrop. Each drop might have been the tears of an angel, splashing against the lost and unwanted souls of the world, but Simms wasn’t thinking about angels. He was thinking about jewelers with tiny hammers, hitting on tiny nails, in some imaginary world awash with rain.
It had been like this every since Simms and Julie stood on that cliff, the hurricane in the distance, lifting the water from the ocean and swirling it around in the sky like … like what? Like a jeweler with a hammer, thought Simms, that’s what. And then the hurricane had come closer, and Julie had said, “Shouldn’t we perhaps seek shelter? There’s a Marriott nearby, with a fake Parisian boucherie. They serve a mean prime rib.”
But no, Simms said, it would be better to stay on that cliff. It had been selfish, he knew. And also irrational. Simms knew, from his extensive professional training, that the absolute worst place to be in a hurricane was on top of a tall cliff. And yet he insisted. Even when Julie pointed out that they served the prime rib with a baked potato, and you could have extra sour cream just for asking.
And so the hurricane came, and he clung like a jackel, or a beaver (did beavers cling? More questions!), to the vines on the hillside, just above the cliff, and when the storm passed Julie was gone. He called out. He searched everywhere. But she was gone.
And since that day, the rain had always bothered him. It had rattled at the cage of his soul, like his soul was a cage, maybe a cage worked on by a jeweler, a jeweler with a hammer, who knew? Anything was possible. But why would a jeweler be working on a cage? A cage for what? The questions. They had haunted Simms, along with the rain, since that day on the cliff, and they always would.