Kansas, 1935

Beau looked out the window and said, “Oh my God, the trees are doing this,” and he took his hand, flat palmed, and moved it from a vertical position to a horizontal one in a quick gesture.

We looked out the window. The lights across the parking lot were subdued into a moon-like glow, as though someone placed a thin layer of Vaseline across the lenses of our eyes, or as if we were the kind of men who suffered cataracts or macular degeneration. There was no one in the parking lot, just lines of cars huddled shoulder to shoulder under the corrugated metal carports.

The cat danced onto the coffee table, and Arden shuffled around nervously, watching her.

“It’s a dust storm,” Beau said finally. The palm trees bent so far to the side it seemed they would snap, their thin trunks too lean to withstand the force of the wind.

I opened the patio door and stepped outside. The air was still warm, but the strong wind was doing its best to cool the night. The shaking leaves made a collective sound like rushing water, a preamble to the monsoon we knew was coming. Off in the distance I heard the first warnings of thunder.

I needed rain. I needed something uncontrollable to hit me, without apology, and then to leave. I wanted to have something I could remember.

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