The streets where I live flooded when I was eight years old.
My dad picked me and my brother up from Nan's house on his way home from work. With one of us on the handlebars and one on the frame, he flew around the corner with us into Bendigo St, the smell of the chocolate factory thick on the air, and the sky closing in. I remember the sound of his breathing and the smell of his sweat as he raced the coming storm to our front gate.
Not yet rained-on, but crazy with the electricity in the atmosphere, my brother and I hurled ourselves off the bike and tumbled over each other, clattering down the driveway to the back yard, where we began rain-dancing in earnest. Limbs akimbo, we shouted and rumbled what we imagined to be magical witch-doctor chanting, twirling and jumping all the time. And then it worked! Delighted with our efforts, we whooped and clapped, drenched within seconds of the first fat summer raindrops.
When the water in the yard was up to our ankles, mum succeeded in herding us inside to be stripped off and towelled up, and told us not to move the buckets that were catching the streams where the new part of the house joined on to the old. Shivery with cold and excitement, we watched the sheets of water crash deafeningly down; a cat each tucked in armpits, trying to calm their thunder-fear.
The water reached the doorstep before the rain finally eased to drizzle. We went outside with gumboots, but abandoned them after a couple of water-logged steps. With secret, dreadful guilt, my brother and I saw three cars at the bottom of the hill that had floated from the kerb into the street. Our rain dance did that.
We stayed at the farm on Saturday night, and the sound of the unceasing downpour on the tin roof made me think of being eight years old again. I wonder about the kid's childhood memories. I wonder if my brother remembers that storm. I hope, with all the fierce and desperate love of a mother, that my son will make better choices with his life than my brother has.