There’s about to be a thunderstorm. All afternoon, the sporadic faint rumbles have called our attention to the bright sky. In the sunshine, we raced the length of the swimming pool, played catch, sat reading and ate our lunch on the veranda. A few clouds appeared overhead and we laughed joyously, carefree.

The air becomes hot and muggy. The wind ripples through the trees and the sky darkens overhead. The Mother takes the crisp swimwear from the drying rack and puts it on one of the kitchen tables.

We wait for the theatrics to begin.

First the tall trees begin to dance. The fig, which overhangs the pool shower bends precariously. The oliver trees shimmer. We can walk on the patio without burning our feet and do so, with haste, to lower the umbrellas. In the wood pile the lizards hide. Above, in their nest the swallows – or birds that look like swallows – huddle together to wait out the storm. I lean back in the rocking chair.

The Mother looks around expecting to see rain, but there’s none yet. The sound she hears is the wind.

We drink tea on the veranda, so typically English in our Italian paradise, and wait. No worries, no urgency, nothing but everything.

Lightening strikes.


[Eventually, the fig tree snapped.]