Outrun the Storm
By Ada Maria Soto
It had been a year since the city had stopped watering the grass in the parks, letting it go brown and the ground hard. They had booked the park for the wedding well before that. It felt like they had been planning it forever. Kenneth kicked at the grass with his high polished shoes. His mother had joked that it had rained on her wedding day, and her mother’s, and family legend said her grandmother’s as well. It also had a habit of raining on wedding days on his father’s side. Everyone joked that it wouldn’t be a problem for him. No one was rained on any more.
Kenneth looked up at the rumble in the distance. The sky was so pale it was nearly white. On the horizon dark clouds had been creeping in over the sea, heavy with rain and sparking with lightening. It was another hour before the guests would be arriving. Closer to two before they actually did the ceremony. The weather warning app on his phone, which had been mute for well over a year, had started going off. He had checked the radar images. The storm was huge. It was moving slowly but it would be over land within the hour, dropping its rain.
He looked around. There would be flooding, the dry earth unable to take in the water fast enough, and the dead plants unable to hold the topsoil in place. There was a breeze, cooler than it should have been. Thirty miles inland and he swore he could smell the sea. There was a squawk overhead. Seagulls fleeing the storm.
His phone pinged with a message from another guest.
‘Have you seen the weather report? Is the wedding still on?’
That was the question of the day. They had picked the park for a reason. They had met there, for the first time, at age six and had fought over a ball. They had met there again after college. He was walking his dog. Daniel had been trying to ‘wake up his muse’, which seemed to mean drinking cheap cold coffee on a park bench.
Daniel came down the little hill towards him. He’d been talking to their wedding planner. There was another rumble of thunder.
“There’s going to be flooding,” was the first thing Daniel said.
“They’re predicting 120 mile per hour wind gusts. Trees are going to go down, power lines. They’re advising people evacuate to shelters now.” Daniel put a hand on his shoulder. He hadn’t put on his tie yet. “We can’t tell people to come. It’s not safe.”
“I know.” He leaned his forehead on Daniel’s shoulder. “I wanted to get married today.”
“There’s nothing that says we can’t. I hear Red Cross evacuation points are very romantic.”
Kenneth smiled a little and looked up at Daniel. “I wanted to get married here today.”
There was another soft and distant rumble. The sky above them was shifting from white to ever darkening gray. “Why don’t we? We reschedule everything else. Tell people to stay home. But Father Mike is still sitting up there waiting for us to make a decision.” Daniel brushed a kiss against his lips. “Let’s get married before the storm comes in.”