It took 42 years for Daisy Long to realise she was a Rain God. It was only in the looking back that the pattern took shape and made sense. She remembered as a child idly saying, “It won’t rain today,” and being correct, despite the clouds and the forecast. She’d tell her mum, “I think you should bring in the washing now.” After a while her mother always checked with Daisy on all family matters where the weather was going to be a factor. Gardening, picnics, visiting the beach, as well as the washing. Daisy was their own little barometer – somewhat peculiar in her weather ways but someone her family came to take 100% seriously in all matters to do with rain.
In her university years Daisy had a collection of unreliable cars: one in particular that would drip onto her leg from an impossible to find hole in the rubber of her windscreen. No amount of sealant and repairs managed to stop the drip-drip that wet stockings, stained jeans and made her shiver through the dark days of winter. But one afternoon as she came out of lectures and looked at the threatening sky she had pointed her finger, shook her head at the clouds, saying simply, “Don’t. Not until I get home, anyway.” And the storm held off, just as she asked, bucketing down as she closed her front door. She’d smiled, remembering her childhood magic and took to being obeyed by storm clouds.
Looking back she saw that what she’d laughed at was quite special. She’d simply accepted that she had an affinity with the weather, was somehow super-sensitive to it and thus could predict, with a high degree of accuracy when rain would fall. She’d kept this to herself as she’d left her family and made her own life. It didn’t seem the right sort of thing for normal conversations. Certainly she’d never mentioned it to Ray. In the harsh light of adulthood it all seemed so silly.
Now, recalling her affinity with the elements, she wondered if she could actually make it rain. She looked at the clouds drifting over the homestead, ever threatening, but still withholding all after so many months. Daisy wondered if she could really do something: if she could break this endless drought and give them some hope of keeping the property.
Daisy needed the right moment. She needed to be alone for her experiment, so that if she failed nobody need know and she could simply put the whole Rain-God joke away again, back in the little musty box in her brain that had recently sprung open. She waited until her family was firmly asleep and went outside, where she could examine the heavens, inhale the night air and try to conjure a miracle.
She paced. She breathed deeply. She looked at the sky: scattered clouds grey and promising against the black of the sky, the tiniest glimpse of metallic moon. The place was still: no breeze, no sound. She stepped onto the dirt patch that was once lawn and reached her arms to the sky. “Hello,” she said. “It’s me, Daisy. Remember me? I reckon it’s time we had some rain.”
She waited. She stopped breathing to listen to the slightest sound. Nothing. She checked her watch and waited five minutes. “It’s not good enough,” she shouted. “This has gone on for too long. It’s time for rain. Now.” She tapped her foot impatiently. Then she felt it: oh so softly at first. The slightest breeze, a change in the air – she could smell it: the rain was coming. She looked up – the moon was completely gone. The sky was full of thunderheads. She could feel them heaving, readying to split open. “Oh, yes. Come on. You can do it. Yes, you can!”
The first drop fell on her head, a fat heavy tear of rain that slid down her face to her lips and onto her tongue. The next few fell on the ground making the dirt jump and spatter on her bare feet. The rain fell heavily on Daisy, standing there in a widening puddle of mud. It teemed, sending bullets of rain up from the desiccated earth, rattling on the roof like a machine gun. It was so loud on the corrugated iron that it shook the sleepers from deep in their dreams and brought them from the house.
Ray stood on the verandah, his face awash with relief. The kids ran into the rain and put their faces to the wet sky, laughing and dancing in the expanding sea of mud.
“What do you think you’re doing, woman?” Ray said, bringing her under cover.
“Making it rain.”
“Don’t be daft, Daisy,” Ray laughed. “People don’t make it rain. It’s the drought. It’s been hard on all of us. We’ll be fine now. As long as it keeps going, fills the damns, soaks the ground.”
Daisy shrugged, winked at the heavens and went inside for a nice cup of tea.
Story featured in e-book – Life Happens by Jackie Swift
(images courtesy Amazon/Andrews UK and Google images)