Outside, the wind howled. Inside, we whispered. Mumbling words to smooth the edges of our voids. And as we slept with spines like question marks, our backs repelled like magnets, resigned, withheld. The wind blew on... went from sigh to scream without our knowing. We must have been too asleep to hear it. Too asleep to feel the bed split in half as we slept like boulders through.
And in the morning, there was no bed. No bedroom. Just secret doors on either side of the house and behind them, rooms we didn't know we had.
And the wind kept blowing... It blew so hard it broke glass, knocked pots over, uprooted two trees. It blew the kitchen windows open as we surveyed the damage in our pajamas.
Bam. Bam. Bam... went the window against the wall. Bam. Bam. Bam...
But there was nothing we could do so we did nothing.
Because nothing (but time) can be done to stop the wind. So we pressed our faces to the window. Watched the furniture float away like balloons. Held onto the ankles of our favorite memories. Untied our scarves.
We prepared breakfast side by side for our children who felt the wind but didn't see the damage it had done.
Substituted words for breath.
Turned our backs on each other's faces, smiling boldly at the children we made together out of discontinued parts.
"Latch the windows, mama," she said.
So I latched the windows.
"What makes the wind so loud, Daddy?"
You didn't know.
I didn't know either. So I let the windows blow open again.
"Latch the windows, ma--"
"Shhhhh," I said. "Just let it be."
We let it be.
Bam. Bam. Bam... went the windows as the kids ate breakfast.
As you poured your coffee and forgot about it.
As I left my milk in the microwave.
When it was time to go to school, we ran to our cars, clutching hands with backpacks to our chests as the palm fronds slammed against our shins. With wind so strong, everything had already fallen to the ground. Everything was trying to get back up to where it was.... empty nests clutching broken branches on the sides of busy roads as we climbed into our separate cars.
Divide and conquer.
Bam bam bam.
So we drove our separate ways, our children fighting in the back seats of our cars. Holding hands, singing over each other, kicking the seats like nothing was wrong. Like windstorms were normal. Broken glass and uprooted trees and broken beds -- normal.
And you steered right.
And we drove as far as we possibly could to either end of town. You were the west and I was the east so that is where we went. Because north felt like the wrong way and going south would have taken too long and nothing but time can be done to stop the wind.
Bam bam bam, the windows went. Until I realized they were all closed and you were nowhere to be found. I turned around looking. Turned away from the wind but it turned with me. East and then west and then north and then south.
And that's when I realized it was coming out of my hands and my mouth and my nostrils. That's when I felt the wind shoot out of my pores, through my hair.
I was the wind that had broken the glass and knocked the terra cotta pots off their bottoms.
And I was the wind who uprooted the trees and broke the fence and two telephone lines.
I was the wind that capsized the boat and split the bed -- and blew the windows clear open... I was the BAM BAM BAM...
I was the wind and nothing (but time) could stop me.
So I looked for a watch. A clock. I searched the sky for the sun's position. And that's when I found you. There, behind the house, crouched amongst the wreckage, eyes parting the same clouds in search of the sun.
That was when you told me it was you who uprooted the trees.
And broke the glass. And knocked over the pots. That was when you took the wind out of my breath like venom and swore it was yours.
That was when we realized we were both right. And wrong. Two tornadoes touching down.
But one cannot do damage to damage, we soon realized. The trees were already gone. The fence broken in half. The power lines dead.
A new bed, perhaps. One with four posts this time...
Firewood to keep us warm.
Paper on which to draw a new direction.
A new design.
Pencils to write our truths...
Or erase them.
Three weeks ago there was a windstorm. It started in the evening, as we made lunches in silence, undressed in silence, brushed our teeth against different mirrors... in silence.
The wind broke everything that night and didn't stop until we were standing in the wreckage.
And now we have the materials to rebuild.