Words: Thomas Wensma
Publication: Rucksack Magazine Volume Seven: Abandoned
Published: Printed and published in London, December 2020


With the lights out, everything looked different. Within what could not have been more than a few minutes, there had been a sudden change. The sky, which had been flat and pale, skipped the gentle hues of dusk and deepened to a dramatic grey, tinged with that strange glow that signifies an incoming storm. Silence hung over the skyline, almost as if it were waiting; expectant. Although the streets - for now at least - remained busy, the city was without its usual colour and alluring glamour. I stood on the corner, watching the traffic and waiting for the light to change, when a brief gust of wind penetrated my coat with cold ferocity. A warning of the cloudburst that would follow moments later. The remaining vestiges of daylight ebbed away, blurring the hard lines of the city, softening its sharp edges.

The rain came thundering down, immediate and forceful. There was no gentle shower as a warning, no gradual increase in intensity or force; it fell with purpose and intent. As the raindrops hit my face I ran for an overhang on the far side of the street, my cheeks stinging from the impact of the water, gradually numbing beneath the cold. The city was changing before my eyes, the rain dampening its usual rushed ambition. Umbrellas opened hastily and people collided as they hurried to find cover - disappearing into shops and cafes, searching for an empty taxi. The crowds of rush hour emptied within minutes, allowing the city to regain control. It stayed strong beneath the deluge - an immovable skyline.