A Storm for Jazz

    by Candace Meredith

    It has been a week since the rain has started. The windsurfers don’t care; they ride the waves inland. My bedroom is the vessel that protects us from the storm. My husband and I sit and gaze at the tundra falling from the sky; there is enough water to make a river out of the streets. The water that falls collects in small pools below the driveway. I imagine the frogs leave their eggs there – will they have enough time to hatch? Will I see tadpoles? I hope so. The rain is cool while I look out to gaze with reverie upon the stars.

    Our dog has died; he was Sheltie and Lab – he loved the ocean out our beachfront home – the one we rent every year. Jazz died a week before our trip; our vacation has been a wash-out – who needs the sun? On one overcast day we caught a single blue crab on the beach in the morning. I eat them every season. John whistles when he thinks of Jazz. I just cry – the days pass by – even at the age of sixty. John is two years younger than I. We are hungry; we let the crab go. Jazz played at this very beach every year since he was a puppy; this is our first year without him. He would sleep at the foot of the bed – the covers are cold. We are old, or so John says. The grandkids are grown. They watched him grow too. His collar still hangs from the wall at home – the key rack John made. At night John snores and Jazz would be too if he were here. I would drown out the sound with thoughts of laughter; the family over dinner at Christmas.

    Their babies are beautiful, I imagine, if I have the opportunity to see the great-grandkids grow too. Macy, my daughter had three children and one has left for college; the other two, both boys, will finish high school. They never had a dog. Jake, my son, younger than his sister, had two and both will practice medicine – pediatrics and a surgeon. They have done good – “you have raised them well,” my best friend says, especially when I was dying, like Jazz, from Cancer. I however survived from having stage four malignant tumors in my breasts. John is healthy. I am in remission.

    John brings me to the beach every year because his parents brought him here as a child. This is where he saw his first great white shark on a fishing boat; the fish were plentiful. Daniel, our neighbor, brings us wine from his cellar; sweet and red. He calls me divine and I marvel; my husband doesn’t get jealous. Our neighbor is one of a kind; I feel lucky among the two of them. Jake talks, and Daniel listens; John does too. They fish from the Avalon pier; the Carolinas are wet this year, this season. I make us a pot of coffee and later the men have beer; we make the best of the water that is falling. “Who doesn’t get wet at the beach?” John would say.

    The kids will be here tomorrow – the grandkids too. They may sail beneath the tundra that is falling – the cascade is our predicament; they may take with them the ashes that were his life; they may take with them the bones that were his life, so that he may feel the deluge that could be as wet as our tears that are falling. The tears fall from our cheeks as we sit to view the rain. I fumble with my watch; I turn back the time but that also brings back the rain; as the clouds part and the sun shines through I glance back at my watch and remember the puppy in the puddles, now frog babies, on the day after the rain, and all is well again.

    Candace Meredith earned her Bachelor of Science degree in English Creative Writing from Frostburg State University in the spring of 2008. Her works of poetry, photography and fiction have appeared in literary journals Bittersweet, The Backbone Mountain Review, The Broadkill Review, In God’s Hands/ Writers of Grace, A Flash of Dark, Greensilk Journal, Saltfront, Mojave River Press and Review, Scryptic Magazine, Unlikely Stories Mark V, The Sirens Call Magazine, The Great Void, Foreign Literary Magazine, Lion and Lilac Magazine, Snow Leopard Publishing, BAM Writes and various others. Candace currently resides in Virginia with her two sons and her daughter, her fiancé and their three dogs and six cats. She has earned her Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) from West Virginia University.

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