It was the darkest, coldest night of the year, she felt, as she stole her way out of the side door and into the blackness outside six months ago. The world was alive, still. Cars and lights and surges of people milling around malls and shopping centres like the sun was not going to rise in 3 hours.
It was the meanest, cruellest thing, she said as she ate two scoops of chocolate ice cream.
It was the harshest storm, she whispered, as she put the coats away in the cupboard.
The floors were polished to a shine. Gleaming in the dark. When the sun rose she could see her reflection in them. Her face distorted, blurry, somebody else.
The windows were dusty, so she got her cloth and slapped at them until the sand fell in little heaps on the windowsill. Then she dampened her cloth and smeared the windows so they became muddy. She could no longer peer out of them at the sand storm outside.
‘Perhaps it is for the better, perhaps seeing the storm is worse.’
There was food they had left on the table. Bits of rice by empty plates. Clumped with leftover sauce, some yogurt smeared on the side of the plate. Glasses covered in greasy fingerprints. The dim light that fills the room after a day of torrid heat, after the sun is covered by sand dunes, yellow world, dust up nostrils, clogging all the openings into the house. And when you step outside you have to cover your face. Wrap a scarf around your head, over your nose, only your eyes visible. Like a face veil.
I don’t think you realise this, but sandstorms are silent.
After the initial gust of wind and wailing currents, there is only silence.
And a fog of dust.
Don’t stay out too long, you shall wheeze.
It was the coldest, harshest winter.
But the summers are long and arduous. And mountains of dust engulf the city every other week.