It’s stiflingly hot, the sun beating through glazed glass doors is barely checked by the floor length drapes, the drapes that you thought might curb the biting heat. You were wrong, but that’s nothing new. You are no home maker. Actually, you’re pushing thirty and still living the student lifestyle. Two day old pizza and beer is the entire contents of your chugging fridge, because even that barely works, another sound second hand investment. You could have bought new but, well that would have cut into your booze budget, and budgeting for your booze kicks is about the most adult thing you’ve ever done.  

You’re sat on the old leather couch that your parents donated too long ago, just about fused to the thing, especially where your boxer shorts end and your thighs begin. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s that or the floor, because you can’t go back to bed. Your bedroom is cool, hidden from the sun at the back of the house, and it’s probably your favourite place in the world. Your mattress knows the shape of you so well that there’s a divot where you fit perfectly, the product of years of dedicated sleeping, hours of not so hard work to leave behind a permanent imprint. If you go up there, even just to escape the heat, you’ll be asleep in no time at all.  

So as you try not to think about the trials of living life as a part leather part human hybrid you find yourself staring at your laptop screen. The open word document stares back at you, obnoxiously blank, save for the slow blinky taunts of the input line, idling at centre screen. At one point it became so maddening that you looked it up - that thin blinking line, to find out it is more generally called a cursor, but might more archaically be referred to as a ‘Caret’. Looking up this ridiculously useless fact is, so far, the most productive thing that you’ve done today. And that stings just a little bit.  

So you put your laptop aside, peel yourself up, and shlep into the kitchen for a cold drink. Grab a glass from the draining board, fish clunkily in the ice drawer for a handful of rough cooling cubes, and hesitate. You told yourself you wouldn’t cheat, that you wouldn’t have a proper drink until you’d at least hit a thousand words. But then again, just a drop of inspiration juice couldn’t hurt, right?  

So orange dilute be damned. You make a beeline for the best cupboard in the house. It’s up high, some less than effective attempt to stave off temptation, nothing that tiptoes and a good stretch can’t solve. Besides, that’s your daily exercise eeked in, you lie to yourself and call it a small victory.  

You grope for the bottle hidden somewhere on the top shelf, fingertips catching the cool glass corner that you know and love by touch. It takes a bit of awkward shuffling, teasing that corner back and forth towards the shelf lip before you can get a full and thirsty grip on the thing. And there it is. Whisky, a spicy cinnamon blend. Not ideal for a hot day, but you like the way that it goes down, so it’ll do.  

You’ve poured yourself a healthy tipple and reapplied your fresh thighs to the hot plate leather seat. You loosen your knuckles in an exaggerated but satisfying chorus of cracks,  shuffle and jiggle for the appearance of making yourself comfortable for the long haul – though there is no one but you in the room to convince. You have to figure that if you look the part then maybe you’ll be hit by some miracle ray of inspiration; turn into a writer on the spot and crank out the most captivating, most convincing piece of your career. A real one in a million, all consuming, slap the new born ass of innovative writing masterpiece.  

But you don’t. Not even close. With your drink to hand, your computer now perched on a glass coffee table that doesn’t match the vintage sofa in the slightest, you are learning forward instead. A more attentive position, time to really knuckle down. But, predictably, and immediately, you fall victim once more to the slow goading input line, or cursor, or caret. At least now there is the familiar soothing crackle of ice steadily losing it’s composure as it bobs around in cinnamon bliss; a pleasant sound, even if your gnat’s focus suffers for it.  

A sip breaks the vapid monotony; both cooling for the cheeky bump of ice against your lips, and warming as the whisky tickles the back of your throat. If you weren’t sweating like a pig in a butcher’s it would have been a nice contrast, like sweet and sour or chasing tequila with lime. Which makes you pause for thought; tequila and lime don’t contrast, not really, it’s more about cutting back the whip crack of the stuff with a citrus tang. You couldn’t really call them opposites on any spectrum of flavour. Come to think of it, was sour really the genuine opposite of sweet? And once again you find yourself slipping down the deepest procrastinator’s rabbit hole – Google, and find out that ‘bitter’ might be a valid contender, depending on your school of thought. It would make sense, “Bitter sweet” being a remarkably well used phrase. But baker’s and chefs might not see eye to eye on that one. Interesting stuff.  

This time your taste debate google bubble is burst by a new sound - the unmistakable weather song of rain against glass. The forecast had today pegged for clear skies and sweat by the bucket full, the hottest day of the year so far. There were summer storms expected over the weekend, but it was only hump-day, so the hush pitter patter is a welcome relief. You can’t help but wish a silent ‘thank you’ to the weatherman for another dodgy report, as the sound of you unsticking yourself to get up again is gently washed away by the escalating hiss. And just in time for you to twitch back one of the useless floor length drapes the drizzle becomes a biblical downpour; cats, dogs and frogs. ‘Metaphorically' you add as an entirely unnecessary afterthought. The plaguing heat seems to scarper the instant that you pull back the curtain, pushed away by a cooling front emanating from the glass that you could only describe as ‘gorgeous’, especially as it flowed over and around your bare ankles.  

Your garden beyond is a lot like your life; an uncut tangle of weeds, the very image of an unchecked urban jungle. You choose to overlook it, for your own sanity, because most days just the notion of pushing your whacked out mower around the uneven sloping rectangle is unbearable. It wasn’t so bad back in the glory days, when the garden was mostly carpeted with lawn grass. Now though? Now it is a mess, the only grasses are the stringy but robust wild kind that make your cutter chunter and complain as it works. The whole thing is frankly disheartening; and entirely your own fault, so you overlook it, mostly by keeping the curtains closed.  

This time you’re looking up though, so the garden doesn’t factor. Not really. You’re watching the heavy barrage of rain drops mash against the glass, running into one another endlessly to become small, storm coloured rivers. Through these downwards wriggling rivers the rain pummelled weeds are distorted anyway, so that the large door pane becomes a living canvas of green, grey and sky tinted smudges. It’s hypnotic enough that a moment of brilliance comes over you, and after all of your desperate thirsting for any hint of motivation you simply cannot ignore it. You unlock the door, and you step outside.  

There’s a small patio just there, but there are only a few tiles that aren’t cluttered with old grass clippings, rusty gardening tools and one lonely terracotta plant pot with a long expired husk sticking out of it. It was once a tomato vine. But the tiles that aren’t occupied are already glazed with a thin veneer of water, bouncing and spitting under the force of the unexpected deluge. It feels electric on the soles of your feet after a day spent sweating and worrying about your absolute lack of productivity. A cold shot of delight.  

Better still - the rain against your skin. The cold kisses on your face and shoulders are immediately uplifting. Your eyes are closed but lids flutter at every strike of a droplet, leaving your lashes dewy and bright.  

There’s an overwhelming sense of calm, as a summer tempered chill washes away the day’s offences. And you smile, as the soundtrack of the building summer storm fills your entire world. There’s nothing but the weather to focus on, and the delight of feeling it quashing your stresses. Then you remember the whisky in your hand – being peppered with rain water, so you take a good long, satisfying pull and then offer your free hand to shelter the inspiration juice from further soaking. This time the warmth of the whisky sliding down stands in perfect balance to the gentle cold creeping through your every nerve. The scales are balanced perfectly, a rare feeling. You find the paradise of inner peace; there in your scrappy patch of scrub, standing on the patio, bathing in this soul lightening experience. Maybe it’s just the booze, but you doubt it.  

From the thickly greying sky, like a blanket of slate, a distant peel of thunder begins a lazy roll across the canopy of the world. You have no idea how long you’ve been standing there when you hear it. It starts as just a mutter, but crescendos into a mighty hollering as it passes overhead and hits you like a sledgehammer. Not literally, but the colossal thunderclap shakes some of the rusty screws of inertia loose in your thick head. Inspiration strikes like a white hot bolt and suddenly you’re off. You drain the watery dregs of whisky from your glass and dart back inside, only briefly inconvenienced by a tangle with those damned drapes of yours.  

Still sodden; hair dripping, the lingering chill of the storm raising a patina of bumps on your exposed arms and legs, you sit down with an absolutely graceless squelch, followed by a soggy creak as you lean forward to pull your laptop near. The cobwebs are clear for the first time in days, and your thoughts are as cool and crisp as rainfall in summer. An idea has risen out of the murk, at long last. 

You align the text for the epic title moment, you underline, you mouth the words silently as they tumble from your mind into your hands, and then off of your dancing fingertips with such incredible ease.  

“Whisky in the Rain.”  

June 26, 2020 19:29

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