The Porches, Day 1


The Porches, Day 1.

I arrived at The Porches in the blistering heat Friday. And although I sent out text messages and knocked on doors, I unloaded my car alone; groceries, luggage, technology. I huffed, and puffed, and sweated. I justified it all to myself, it would be worth it, I would get what I need from this week, this gathering of writers.

B. and I left to pick up R. in Charlottesville. As always, I got lost on the return trip. I get turned around in Charlottesville. I don’t like it there very much. It brings up all of the resentment towards my former boss, and the messy ending to that job. And how he didn’t defend me. Charlottesville reminds me of things I carry.

We arrived back at the porches for a wonderful summer meal prepared by C. And RB, from the MNINB group was waiting for us. The lights flickered, repeatedly, throughout dinner. We discussed that, perhaps, we were taxing the system. Maybe we should turn air conditioners off.  the five of us scurried in different directions.

We were completely unaware of the storm raging outside the house. C. noticed the wind ravaging tress in the yard. But we turned all the air-conditioners off anyway, we decided that the surging power would be bad for them. B. searched for a weather report between darkened moments. We were in denial, and so, B.’s news was particularly unnerving; severe storms, dangerous winds, seek shelter indoors and away from windows.

We all looked to either side of the refectory at the massive antique windows. Well ok, that sounded like over-reaction. The media doing what it does best; exaggerating. But the lights stopped flickering.

And it went dark.

We scrambled for flashlights, candles, and batteries.

Darkness in the country isn’t the same as darkness in the city. There’s no headlight glow, no close neighbors running generators, and in a storm there’s no moon and stars.

Just dark.

Omnipresent dark that permeates through walls and furniture.

We clicked on flashlights. “Don’t run the water,” I said. “Or flush toilets.”

This was met with stunned looks. “What?”

“There’s a well. No electricity means no pump. No pump means no water.”

“Oh,” my housemates said in unison. We looked at the table, our dinner mess sprawled across it. “Hmm.” We waited for the miracle of electricity to illuminate the room so we could clean up. Seconds tick slowly in the dark, they stretch for eons in unseen silence. After, maybe five, we refilled our wine glasses, gathered our flashlights and headed to the porch.

We drank wine, and enjoyed the storm in the distance; oblivious to its severity and devastation. No one did any writing. Power would be back by morning we reasoned…

To be continued…

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