It was no longer cold. Nor had it ceased or started to rain again. There were no clouds or sun, no stars or any moon. There was no migration of birds to warmer climates. No mammals retreating into hibernation in their many caves. The wind was not cold. There was no chill in the air coming off the water from the lakes or rivers. There was no storm approaching from the sea. It had not begun to snow. The lake was not alive under a layer of ice for the fisherman and his lures. There was no noonday sun. No mirage on the horizon in any desert. The cars were not covered in overnight frost. There was no warm current for the salmon swimming upstream. No pockets of warm air for the planes to navigate unsteadily. Indian summer had not arrived. It was not unseasonably warm. The clean white snow in the streets had not turned brown from exhaust. The water was not the perfect temperature, or any temperature at all. There were no warnings. No one was monitoring a tropical depression forming off the coast. No one had given it a woman’s name. There was no snow above 10,000 feet. No frozen rain to fold the pines in half on your front lawn. The sky was not blue or clear or cloudless or heavy with a coming rain. You could not see your breath in the air. Nor would the blond hairs on your arms stand on end from the cold. There was no need for layers, no need to peel the layers off one by one. No need for gloves or scarves or late summer sweaters. The desert had not grown cold at night. There was no need to build a fire. No need to light the furnace. No need to retrieve your grandmother’s quilt from the wooden chest your father carved his name into. The power had not gone out. The hurricane lamps did not light up one by one in the windows of the houses in your neighborhood. Your mother had not slipped and fallen on the ice on the sanctuary steps on Christmas Eve while carrying a small child. There were no footprints in the snow the next morning leading to the backdoor of your house. You had not slept with the windows open listening to the rain. You had not dreamed again of a funnel cloud forming on the horizon. It was not May. It was not September. It was not any time of year outside that you could tell. Inside, it can be any time of year. Inside, you are the god of weather. Wave your hand. You are the commander of many storms. Inside, you drag the demon out into the light.
Jamie Cooper is a 2004 graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His work has appeared in TYPO, the Colorado Review, Parthenon West, and elsewhere. He teaches English and writes about the NBA for UPROXX Sports. He lives in Portland, OR.