It rolled in early today. There was always a still before it arrives, but today it showed up sooner than before. The sound of thunder rang through the buildings, a flash of light here, a bolt of energy there. The people went about their business, as if nothing has happened, and nothing will. As the sky darkened, there was nothing ominous about it. No fear. It just swept into the high windows, wrapping its pressure around their tall spires. Then the downpour. The rain, starting with just a few drops, suddenly transforming into a torrent, as if the heavens emptied a vast sea upon the island, soaked everything in sight. The windows, the plants, the towers and peaks, the people, their umbrellas, the pavement the road the automobiles. The water didn’t stop for a while. Ten, fifteen, twenty minutes went by. Puddles formed. Then ponds. The storm drains worked furiously to absorb all the rain. Mopeds zoomed through the narrow streets, shooting up an elegant sheen of water that fanned out behind them like a veil, before falling again to the ground. The air grew dense. Heavy. Breathing was now something to think about. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
Then it stopped. All of it. The thunder, the rain, the huff and puff of people bustling by. None of it seemed to matter. Life went on as usual. The water that had fallen formed a shimmering sheet that glistened in the sun as it showed through the gray again.
There’s a beauty to these brief afternoon thunderstorms in Taiwan. A beauty I’ve longed to see again.