An Almost Storm

Walking down the beach, despite the clouds overhead, I watched as my shadow and two others shifted on the sand.

So how does it feel to be back?

It’s really nice. Can’t beat the feeling.

Vacations are much-needed breaks to the school year—although I wasn’t expecting this type of weather in Hawaii.

The weather’s a bit odd.

I nodded. It’s supposed to storm. We chose the right day to go out.

We continued down the beach. We had a mile to go before we reached our destination, a mall with all the restaurants a food-enthusiastic duo could want.

Let’s just try to get there before it comes.

As we walked, I watched the weather. The wind at our sides was picking up and our shadows on the ground were disappearing. A much greater shadow was casting itself on the sand. At one point, I looked up. The sun had vanished. Swirling out of the top of the sky was a massive gray cloud, which descended in increasing thickness on the beach and on the sea. I turned. In the distance, from a point we had come not an hour ago, the cloud had crawled up the sand and was fingering between hotels.

Look at the cloud.

We hurried down the beach. Around us, we watched as swimming children were called out of the water by their parents. Hosts ushered their outside-dining customers inside. The wind detached a twenty-pound umbrella from its table, sending both into the glass side of the restaurant. At this, we ran, keeping our heads low and shielding our eyes from the sand that the wind had stirred. The sea shuddered. I watched in disbelief as a windsurfer toppled in the wind. We ran into a hotel, where lines of people had gathered by the windows to watch the storm.

It never came.

It rained a lot and the wind tested some of the especially dated buildings, but all things considered, nothing was irreparably damaged. There was a moment, however, as we made our way through the crowd, when the uncertainty was real—for a storm on the beachfront is always serious. But the moment passed when the clouds evaporated and the wind died.

That night at dinner, under a wan light, I remarked what a day it had been.

Are you still happy to be back?

I said yes without a doubt.

Later that night under a streetlamp, waiting to be picked up, I watched our shadows on the ground. In a second of silence, I saw my shadow shiver. Then I realized that it was only myself, responding to a cool breeze, or a feeling of relief to have escaped the storm or to finally be home.