Home > Weather Girl

Weather Girl
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon

 


1

 


   FORECAST:

Cloudy with a chance of public humiliation

   THERE’S SOMETHING ESPECIALLY lovely about an overcast day. Clouds dipped in ink, the sky ready to crack open. The air turning crisp and sweet. It’s magic, the way the world seems to pause for a few moments right before a downpour, and I can never get enough of that heady anticipation—this sense that something extraordinary is about to happen.

   Sometimes I think I could live in those moments forever.

   “What was that?” my brother asks from the driver’s seat. It’s possible I’ve just let out a contented sigh. “Are you getting emotional about rain again?”

   I’ve been staring—well, gazing—out the window as the early morning sky surrenders to a drizzle. “No. That doesn’t sound like something I’d do.”

   Because it’s not just that I’m emotional about rain. It’s that rain means the thrill of tracking a cold front as it moves in from the Pacific. It means knee-high boots and cable-knit sweaters, and it’s simply a fact that those are the best clothes. I don’t make the rules.

   For so many people, weather is small talk, the thing you discuss when you’ve run out of conversation topics at a party or you’re on a first date with a guy who lives in his parents’ basement and thinks you two could be really happy down there together. Can you believe the weather we’re having? It’s a source of joy or frustration, but rarely anything in the middle.

   It’s never been small talk for me. Even if we’re due for six more months of gloom, I always miss it when summer comes.

   “You’re lucky I love you so much.” Alex rakes a hand through the sleep-mussed red hair we almost share, only his is auburn and mine is a bright shock of ginger. “We’d just gotten past Orion’s fear of the dark, but now Cassie’s up at five if we’re lucky, four-thirty if we’re not. No one’s getting any sleep in the Abrams-Delgado house.”

   “I told you she’s a little meteorologist in training.” I adore my brother’s five-year-old twins, and not just because they’re named after constellations. “Don’t tell her we have to do our own hair and makeup. Ruins the illusion.”

   “She has to watch you every morning before preschool. Dinosaur-shaped pancakes and Aunt Ari on the TV.”

   “The way God intended.”

   “I must not have been paying attention that day in Hebrew school.” Alex stifles a yawn as we jigsaw around Green Lake. He lives on the Eastside and works in South Seattle, so he picked me up in my tree-lined Ravenna neighborhood and will drop me off at the station when we’re done.

   His clock is always six minutes fast because Alex loves the extra motivation in the mornings. Right now it reads 6:08—usually late for me, but thanks to one of Torrance’s last-minute schedule changes, I won’t be on camera until the afternoon. I might end up staying awake for a full twenty hours, but my body’s gotten used to me messing with its internal clock. Mostly.

   Still, imagining my tiny perfect niece transfixed by a weather report warms the very center of my heart.

   Once upon a time, I did the exact same thing.

   “Relax. It’s going to be great,” Alex says as I fidget with the zipper on my waterproof jacket, and then with the necklace buried in the fuzz of my sweater. I only roped him into this because I didn’t want to do it alone, but there’s always been a whisper-thin line between excitement and anxiety for me.

   Even if my tells weren’t so obvious, he’d be able to sense my emotions with his eyes closed. At thirty, Alex is three years older than I am, but people used to think we were fraternal twins because we were inseparable as kids. That morphed into a friendly rivalry as teens, especially since we were in the habit of crushing on the same boys—most notably, this Adonis of a track star named Kellen who had no idea we existed, despite our appearance at every one of his meets to cheer him on. This was made clear on the day of the state championships, when I showed up with flowers and Alex with balloons, and Kellen blinked his gorgeous tide pool eyes at us and said, “Hey, do we go to the same school?”

   Reluctantly, I allow the swish of the windshield wipers to lull me into a false sense of calm. We head north up Aurora, past billboards for the Pacific Science Center, for gutter cleaners, for a guy who could be either a personal injury lawyer or a pro wrestler, given the way his face is twisted in a scowl. A cluster of car dealerships, and then—

   “Oh my god, there it is. Stop the car. Stop the car!”

   “You’re not allowed to yell like that when I’m driving,” Alex says, even as he stomps the brake, his Prius tossing me against the door. “Christ, I thought I’d hit something.”

   “Yes. My ego. It’s shattered.”

   He swerves into the parking lot of a twenty-four-hour donut shop, sliding into a spot that gives us an unobstructed view of my very first billboard.

   WAKE UP WITH KSEA 6 AT 5! WE’RE ALWAYS HERE 4 YOU, it proclaims in aggressively bold letters. And there’s our Colgate-toothed weekday morning team, all of us looking natural and not at all uncomfortably posed: Chris Torres, news. Russell Barringer, sports. Meg Nishimura, traffic. Ari Abrams, weather.

   And an unmistakable whitish-gray streaked across my smiling face, blotting out my left eye and half my nose and ending in a beautiful bird-shit dimple.

   My face only.

   Chris and Russell and Meg keep on grinning. WE’RE ALWAYS HERE 4 YOU, my ass.

   “Well. I’m sufficiently humbled,” I say after a few moments of stunned silence. “At least my hair looks okay?”

   “Am I allowed to laugh?”

   A sound that might be a giggle escapes my own mouth. “Please. Someone has to.”

   My brother cracks up, and I’m not sure whether to be offended or to join him. Eventually, I give in.

   “We’re taking your picture with it anyway,” Alex says when he can breathe again. “It’s your first billboard. That’s a huge fucking deal.” He claps a hand on my shoulder. “The first of many.”

   “If this doesn’t haunt the rest of my career.” I follow him out of the car, my Hunter boots splashing through a puddle that turns out to be deeper than it looks.

   “Say, ‘KSEA 6 Northwest News: where we really give a shit,’ ” he says as I position myself beneath the billboard and mug for the camera. “ ‘KSEA 6: what you watch when the shit hits the fan.’ ”

   “How about, ‘Breaking news: Alex Abrams-Delgado is a piece of shit’?” I say it in my best TV voice while giving him the middle finger.

 

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