The Storm – Jeremiah Benson

Somethings are not meant to be heard. The inaudible chatter between glass walls. The thumping and indiscernible grunts between wood. The presence of despair when encaged in a concrete box. The morning sun casts an imprint against the cold stone as yellow bliss framed in an impersonal grey. A man who lived in the building across from me peaked his freshly shaved skull out. He called me over to tell me something important. A storm was near and he wasn’t sure how his building would hold up. Last year each floor was flooded, drowning the residents in their own windowless apartments.

“Surely you’ll be leaving?”
“I’m afraid not. I couldn’t leave my cat.”
He grabbed the cat’s paw gesturing goodbye.

My windows were installed just in time to watch the building over as the man drowned in his apartment.

During the storm the board proposed a feast for all residents, serving a grand collection of meats, aged cheeses, silk-like wine that was absorbed through the pores in your mouth.

A woman whose name I cannot recall sat alone at one of the windows. She dangled a glass by two fingers, and with her other hand, peeled off the blue tape blocking the view.

“Don’t you think that’s just horrible?”

She said, sipping for her glass shortly after.

I couldn’t care. Her legs were crushed together revealing a certain musculature. I felt tempted to graze my hand over her defined thighs and told her I had a better view from my own apartment. She uncrossed her legs and suggested I take her there.

There was nothing in my home. A flat land of stone, no rooms, no bed. I had no time. She put her glass down on the floor and unwrapped her dress.

Her sculpted body fit perfectly with the sterile concrete setting, as if to draw no attention outside of the contours that swept down her thigh or the perfect line separating her calf muscles from the rest of her leg. In the distance their bodies floated in their windowless apartments. I didn’t believe the sky would ever change, I believed it would remain that way forever. I found her lack of motion provocative, I’m not sure if she even blinked. She stood there as a mannequin. The room was soundless and behind her were curtains of heavy rain. As I walked toward her I had knocked over the glass, shattering it and leaving a puddle of a red liquid that trailed in a single direction.

“Do you know why they didn’t leave?”
“Where would they go?”

My fingers brushed down her neck.
“Did you know any of them?”

I awoke on the concrete floor, alone, the following day.