Rain Gauge by Helen Moat


Last time it rained Amal was three. Now she was five.
“Mamma, what does rain look like?”
“Like diamonds in the sky, Am.”
Amal left an empty paint tin outside the corrugated door; wanting to collect the diamonds. Each night she listened for the rap on metal, but there was just the sing of wind on pylons and the desert marching closer.
Mamma showed Amal a picture of Papa beneath a sky of tarnished silver. “Papa will come soon and take us back to a place where the rain is plentiful.”
But Papa didn’t come. And the desert crept up on them and over Mamma’s body until her skin, cracked and thin as parchment, became one with the earth.
That’s when Papa came for Amal.
“Papa, will it rain soon?”
Papa laughed and took Amal’s hand in his, skin soft as bruised mango. He led her onto the roof over their one-roomed flat and pointed to a sky sagging with rain.
Amal dragged her mattress and blankets onto the roof top; fetched a washed-out butterbean can from the kitchenette. The dishwater sky swirled in the orange street lights, but still it held its rain. She closed her eyes, listening to the yowl of siren, the thud of a wheelie bin, a slamming car door; voices, then nothing.
When Amal woke, she heard a tap, tap, tap, followed by the downpour.
And she held the can up to the sky, filling it up, filling it up with diamonds for Mamma.

Published by helenmoat

Helen Moat is the author of Slow Travel The Peak District. part of the UK Slow Travel guide books and published by Bradt. The book is available from Amazon and the online Bradt shop, as well as major outlets. Helen Moat was born in Northern Ireland and spent her childhood travelling the length and breadth of the island in her Dad’s Morris Minor – or so it seemed: she still suffers from wanderlust. Helen studied German in England, living in Switzerland and Germany for extended periods. The author has since settled in the Peak District, her adopted home. She is constantly inspired by the local landscape, and the people and places shaped by the Peaks. A keen walker and cyclist, she’s happiest when outdoors and on the move. As a travel and fiction writer, she’s always on the hunt for a good story. The Peak District gives her plenty of material. -

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