The Flood (Story by Risa Peris)

The rain began on Monday. A light drizzle that became an insistent downpour. My husband tended to the farm as best he could. He would leave in the early morning after I made him a breakfast of eggs, pancakes, bacon, and strong coffee. We ate quietly but the rain made me nervous. 

“It will flood,” I said. I could barely swallow. I worried about the animals. My husband was corralling them to higher ground and the chickens were placed in hanging cages. They clucked and cooed. The rooster sang morning to night. 

On Thursday morning, I went down to make breakfast and to my great fear and devastation there was water that reached the second step of the stairway. The flood gate had broken. I yelled for my husband. 

“Dale, Dale! We will drown.”

He stumbled down the stairs. “The animals,” he yelled. “The crops.” He grabbed his floating slicker from the water. He waded through the water until he could find his boots. He opened the front door and more water gushed in. I screamed. Dale paid me no mind. 

“Stay in the house.” He left the door gaping open. I began to cry. I wanted my nice, tidy, and dry house back. I wanted Dale to be by my side. I was quite scared. I sat on the top stair. I had a knit blanket wrapped around me. Dale, Dale, Dale. I kept saying his name like it would drain the water. 

Hours passed and I went to the bedroom window. I screamed. Dale was floating on his back and his head kept bumping against the garden gate. None of his limbs moved. He was dead. A boat came by. It was stamped with white words – FIRE DEPARTMENT. They pulled his body into the boat. I opened the window and yelled that he was my husband, but they seemed not to hear me through the storm sounds. I watched Dale disappear. I sat on the bed. I should have spoken to him more. I should have learned more about him. All those years…and barely words were exchanged. I didn’t even know what he liked. Not really. Christmas gifts were always warm clothes. Birthdays were usually some tool he had asked for. I was barren and I think it hurt him that we had no children. I laid in bed and cried. I never really had a husband. The only image I had was his head continually hitting the blue garden gate I painted in the Spring. Goodbye, Dale.