Stormy Weather


Published in the Journal of the Blue Planet February 2003


Lightning struck in the dairy aisle ten stormy years ago. I was contemplating my third sample of a nutty Wisconsin Swiss when she passed–auburn pageboy, pastel pink business suit, and two-inch pumps dyed to match. The cheese was good; two samples later, I bought a wedge and tossed it into the basket that should have been mine. Wrong, the purple glare of eggplant told me: she had abducted my cart. There she was halfway across the store piling her vegetables atop my bachelor beef. I gave chase: she had my stuff; I had her purse. I was about to spend the rest of the afternoon getting to know her–or the store detective.

Unmixing what the winds of chance had thrown together would be like devoweling alphabet soup. It was easier to cook together. She did healthy; I did dishes.

Our romance raged like April weather. We watched the sky blacken over Mission Bay. She hoped it would rain–we needed the water. I hoped it would rain–no night to send me home. Lettuce leaves swirled in a blizzard of red and five shades of green while its winds fanned our flames. I used to eat vegetarians–now I was one. Thunderheads loomed. The mother of all storms disapproved. Her daughter was left and I was not; her daughter was spiritual and I was not; her daughter was frugal and I was not. But her daughter was a woman and I was not.

The heat of passion carried us to this beach. Sprinkled blessings calmed my raging mother in law. We were free to weather our own storms—go fly a kite was how she put it. The years since have been filled with hot tempers over her politics and cold shoulders over my occasional anchovy breath. Now snow has fallen on the roofs.

A flash of green punctuates the crimson sunset shining through fizzing champagne. Her silver hair breathes lilacs in the wind as our flutes touch. Elbows entwined, we sip an anniversary toast. Tonight we’ll renew the vows we took on this shore ten years ago.