It started like any other rain at first: a smattering of wetness falling from the sky. Pedestrians strolling on the sidewalk looked up when they felt small drops hit their faces and outstretched palms.
“Looks like rain,” people said then. And it was.
The spitting turned to a downpour, and people ran for cover, unfurled umbrellas, and shielded themselves with newspapers and briefcases. The rain had began in earnest. I remember where I was when that happened: I’d been sitting out on the patio of Cafe Fontaine having an espresso. That was four months ago.
Like a disease, a black plague, a rolling tide of judgement, the dark clouds slowly made their way everywhere, and with them, the rain came. The reports of rapidly rising floodwaters were first only from the interior, then all across the country.
The rain falls. My wife sits beneath a soaked blanket with my young daughter as I slowly paddle our tiny boat, my arms stiff and sore and cold, between the rows of streetlights. The highway they lined is beneath us, submerged along with so many abandoned cars filling it; futile attempts to escape the rising floods, already then too late.
Up ahead is an overpass. We are nearly level with its bottom, the water has risen so high. As it draws nearer I see on it graffiti sprayed in violent red:
REPENT SINNERS BEFORE AN ANGRY GOD
THE TIME OF OUR JUDGEMENT HAS COME
My daughter shivers beneath the blanket.
“Daddy,” she says in little her voice. “When will the rain stop?”
I hold her and my wife close and we huddle together in each other’s warmth.
“I don’t know, baby,” I say. “I don’t know.”