high water everywhere
One minute is was rain and the next it was a flood.
Then he was sitting on top of his house, wondering why he’d grabbed a can of paint instead of a photo album or keepsake. Too late now. The SOS had been painted on the roof, but as he stood there looking up at the dark sky he knew that it too would soon be under water. Washed away with everything else.
There would be no helicopter or planes coming to his rescue. No last-minute heroics. Just a storm finishing what it started.
Since his wife had passed on, the kids long since moved away, the house become more of a museum anyway. A reminder of happier days. Time washed those away.
He looked at the horizon, the direction the water was flowing, muddy and single-minded, and wondered what lay beyond it. He’d never travelled much. Never really felt the need.
Something heavy hit the house. He felt it shudder. “Good riddance” was all he said.
He sat down at the very top of the roof and waited for the water.
He woke up the next morning to see most of the roof submerged. He had a few feet left to walk back and forth so he did. Pacing and waiting.
When the sun finally broke through, a single ray shot down and his eyes followed it all the way to the rowboat it illuminated. Empty and headed his way. Straight towards him.
He sloshed his way shakily to the edge of the roof and took hold of the boat. It was in perfect condition. Probably floated away from some store in town he surmised. The ray of light was still on the boat, bouncing crazy off the fiberglass. Everything shimmered.
He got in and away he went.
The craft was long for a rowboat, with a fixed seat and a transom above the waterline. There were no oars, but the truth was that the water was going to take him wherever it wanted to go anyway. He sat back and felt a small sense of excitement run through him.
Soon he could no longer see his house.
“What a beautiful boat. Luck was smiling on me for sure” he said. When he realized that the ray of light was still following him he looked up and added “Thanks.”
An old song from Charlie Patton was running through his head.
Oh, Lordy, women and grown men drown
Oh, women and children sinkin’ down
Lord, have mercy
I couldn’t see nobody’s home and wasn’t no one to be found
When they pulled him into a Marion City rescue boat two days later it took them a full five minutes to dig his fingers out of the log he was clinging to.
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