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Downpour, August 2019

The sky grows dark early. It’s not the natural sort of darkness the Earth’s revolution brings like clockwork each year. It’s super natural; the sort of darkness that says the Earth intends to demonstrate its power suddenly and unequivocally.

It begins to rain. It pours. It’s torrential, and a strong wind buffets trees and blows the rain sideways. It looks like the fake rain that comes in sheets in old Hollywood movies. People caught outside—or those who bravely enter the storm—soon realize umbrellas serve no purpose today. The storm drenches them easily. 

A downtown lobby fills up with workers who were heading home but stopped in their tracks when they looked up from their phones and saw the scene outside. Even a short walk to the Metro or a bus is imprudent right now.

Community forms in the lobby, as it always does during storms like these. The rain pools and seeps under the building’s door, while people anxiously check on Uber and Lyft drivers who do not seem to be getting any closer. Occasionally someone makes a break for it.

The doors open and a group of tourists rush in. The security guard wonders aloud who they are and they explain, though English is not their native language, that they’re seeking shelter from the storm. They’re allowed to stay. The only thing the rain has dampened is their clothes; they laugh and chat as they wait for the deluge to let up.

Across town people comment that this is the worst rain they’ve ever seen. Though they may have said the same thing during last year’s historic rains.

Will Warren writes Scene and Heard. If you know of a location worthy of being seen or heard, email him at wwarren@washingtoncitypaper.com.

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