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A strange calm before the storm. Shafts of sun peer through the slowly building number of clouds. There is the wind: bursts of a breeze followed by a swift whisper. She’s coming.

Office workers are given the free pass for the day. Happy that work is suspended, they join the mass exodus of people hoping to get home before Glenda arrives. Their children are waiting at home, having slept through the earlier announcement classes in the metropolis have been cancelled. The sunny morning slowly transfiguring to a blackened sky.

In the evening, silence. The winds are picking up and the rain has started to fall. Last orders from the father. Close all the windows. Make sure the dogs are inside. Have your flashlights beside you. A pack of blue candles are in the drawer.

At four in the morning, the pettiness of the stormy introduction brews into a ghostly howl. By six, the strength of the typhoon is made known. The windows are creaking and the roofs are fighting to stay in place. Gusts of wind burst in between the downpour, pushing the rain sideways to a nearly opaque white: a wall of mist that could bruise the skin. Everything is swaying. The mud melts. Streets are swollen. A swamp. The lights are out. Only the battery-powered radio is left with worth. Phones have no signal. Computers, pointless. The internet, non-existent. Twenty-thousand, thirty-thousand, fifty-thousand gadgets rendered useless by nature’s imposition.

Even Nature’s own trees are toppled. Beside the fallen acacias, electric lines succumbing to the power of Glenda.

Noontime is quietude. Glenda, is leaving. Remnants. Debris. Littered. The rain is just as usual. Sudden gushes of wind still insist to remind. Inside, the bathroom water is freezing; the tiles, impossible with bare feet.

By afternoon, the dark is already encroaching. Still no lights, no news. For a moment in time, everyone is back to basics: no phones, no computers, no music, no apps, no Facebook. The family catches up with one another. Trivial is the conversation. Ordinary chatter turned profound. Nature, indifferent to modern times. Disconnected from everyone else, a moment to contemplate.

Candle-lit dinner by seven. Homes aglow with raw light. The radio’s battery is dead. At least no one in the family is. Prayers. A rosary. Thank you for sparing us. Have mercy on those who aren’t as fortunate.

Outside, it looks like a ghost town. Streets are still littered by debris: both natural and man-made. The dogs howl but the wind is dead. Cool from Glenda permeates the bedroom. An open book flips. Warm milk at the night table, my feet covered with my favourite socks. We will sleep soundly tonight even without the air-condition, with whiffs of the typhoon scenting my somnolence. But one wonders about those without a home to start with?

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