Two hours the dry rasp of thunder had coughed its threat as blue gave way to cloud. Now the whole sky was layered with sheets of gunmetal grey. The leaves, stirred from their silence, hissed and seethed in dry warning of rain to come. I moved slowly across the darkening park, uncaring.
From the top of Primrose Hill the approaching storm was drawn like a dark curtain around our vantage. All others there had run aghast at the bruising of the sky. We sat enfolded in each other’s shelter watching the light shine through jagged rents closed over by skeins of rain.
The first flash of lightening was followed, seven seconds later, by a ripping crack rattling the ill-fitting sheet-iron of the sky. I always count the seconds between lightning and thunder, a habit from childhood. How far away? nearer or further?
We counted the gaps as the storm moved back and forth across the bowl of London spread before us. Five miles away, then six but seeming closer because dead ahead of the bench where we sat. There is something about the straight and forward which gives an illusion of proximity the oblique, the ascance, lacks.
Fat, lazy drops first. Plopping, big-polka-dotting the path.
When it was obvious it was headed right towards us we ran to meet it. Holding hands tumbling pell-mell down the steep slope. As we collided with the curtain of rain we stopped and kissed. Mouths mingling in the streaming water. My hands, spread, pulling his face to me as rain-rivulets washed over us, sealing in a seamless caul of water.
When the real rain came it was staccato, angry. Beating on bowed head, battering tears.