We had spent weeks and weeks clearing a spot in the bougainvillea in your garden, until we had a safe house, a place to call our own. Every day after school, we would rush through our homework and then hide from the summer heat in our haven under the green canopy speckled with purple flowers.
That day, we were playing Pirates in your back garden. Somehow, we had managed to move your kitchen table outside and turn it upside down to serve as our ships. My brother’s t-shirts were small enough to make flags, and I am sure you stole your mother’s sheets for our sails. We spent hours and hours sailing the sea, looking for ships to ransack and pillage and didn’t notice the heavy clouds rolling in until it was too late.
The rain came down in big drops at first, leaving small craters in the dust where they landed. We didn’t even have time to take down the sails, never mind return the ship to harbour. Instead, we jumped overboard and made our way to our little cove, where we spent the rest of the storm.
And that afternoon, I told you stories to keep the fear of the thunder away.
Don’t worry, I said, the thunder is but the sound of the old man on the clouds walking around, and the rain… wayward drops from his watering can as he waters his garden.
We conjured up pictures of the old man while huddled together in the one dry spot we could find, and the afternoon lasted forever.