I knew the forecast called for storms. That’s why I emptied the can of waterproofing on the canvas of my tent. I knew the forecast called for storms, but not like this.
Ever since the sun went down the air had been heavy – thick and tangible between my thumb and forefinger. Around nine pm the wind had picked up, howling through the leaves while the leaves complained at the disturbance – shush, shush, crackle, shush. Soon after, the rain started, fat drops shattering as they hit the ground, soaking the already wet air. That was my cue to go to bed.
I had checked the stakes and the lines, tied shut the flaps, and situated myself as best I could on the tiny aluminum-framed cot. Now I lay there on the cot, shoulders pressed into the hard frame, listening to the storm around me. Each flash of lightning illuminating the small holes worn into the old canvas above me, mocking me. Already damp with sweat and humidity, the thin sheets were well on their way to wet, as the holes in the canvas dropped warm drips down, plastering the sheets to me skin. The constant tap, tap, tap, drip, plop, tap, plop beneath the peals of rolling, crashing thunder was almost as infuriating as the Chinese water torture on seven different parts of my body.
Years later, or maybe seconds, the tree behind me shrieked in anguish as the wind tore it limb from trunk, the fierce lightning silhouetting the ghoulish scene against the battered canvas of the tent, slow motion toppling, crashing, falling of limbs, branches, leaves, and water onto the far corner of my tent. Creased now, even the unbroken portions of canvas were welcoming the warm water, and I was showered in the blood of the heavens. Sleep shook me off its trail like a rabbit and a hound, and I prayed it was close to morning. I used the remaining two percent battery on my phone to check. It was 10:45 pm.