On a Hot Tin Roof

It’s taken me now just about a month to come up with words to express my feelings of our time. I’ve thought about it a lot—nearly endlessly, to be honest. The words I would normally write feel cheap—because it hasn’t really gotten better, certainly not for many of us. And it might not get better soon, certainly not for some of us. And so, it is no longer an intellectual challenge for me to capture the energy of the moment—the feeling of our existence in this time and place. That feels, quite frankly, disrespectful. It is the great pause of our generation—and the great hurt of many others.

In reality, this period has done nothing except for making me feel like a helpless child. A year since my uncle’s suicide, and too busy and exhausted by our timeline to grieve it as I would have wanted, I’m finding myself bewildered, but calm.

My memories are regressing, to younger days and earlier years. Formative lessons. Ideologies. The person I was, and the one that I became. A very real and sudden juxtaposition between the beautiful and the cruel, and making peace with the fact that, sometimes, these two things walk the same line.

Instead, here is a memory, at least until the hurt has softened a bit more.


When I was young, my father showered in the bath adjacent to my room. He would come in early in the morning, when it was still dark, and wake me—so I could fall back asleep to the sound of water pouring just outside my door.

He told me the story of a man, a Hollywood producer, who was very old and very ill. On his deathbed, he had one final wish: to hear the rain upon his roof. His assistant—or his wife, the story blurs—went out and bought a sprinkler. She attached it to the hose outside his bedroom, and pointed it towards the house.

There he lay, the small and faded remnant of a man, thin and sallow, waxed poetic in his resting words. With dried tongue and tired lips, he closes his mouth, and then his eyes, and listens. The rain, the soft lullaby of water on his roof—how it carries him to sleep, and then to death.

I loved the story. I begged my father to tell it, time and time again. I had it memorized inside my head. The picture of it all—the 1970’s style house, with the grass lawn and the dark forest green slatted sideboard. His assistant, in her peach heels and business skirt, juggling a notebook in her hands, sinking down into the mud. The giant trees that shaded his front yard. The windows to his room, with the closed drapes—how the light from an overcast sky drifted in, but only through the cracks. How he dies alone, in a bed with dark mustard yellow sheets, with no one by his side except the sound of all that rain cascading down his roof. It was perfect.

And so, my father would wake me in the mornings, when it was still dark. In the hallway, I could see the warm glow of the bathroom light. The door would close, and leave behind a yellow line that broke through the crack. I would fall back asleep to the sound of water, the warmth of steam as it carried through the air into my room.

It was perfect.

33 thoughts on “On a Hot Tin Roof

  1. With all its melancholy, it was perfectly told. As if listening to the calming soft pattering of rain in the tin rooftop any blessed time of the day. It’s sad, it’s soothing, it brings back memories, it’s relaxing, it’s whatever it summons within.
    And what a great way to go too. The man in the story is blessed to have it his way.

    All in all, a lovely post. Thumbs up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Liola Lee

    Sending you loving energy in these strange and challenging times, where life certainly seems on hold just now! The right words will come in time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is not a time for going forward, for trying to create a ‘future’, and so, because most humans find that way too challenging, there’s a global wave of … dissonance, is perhaps the best word I can think of.
    This ‘shutdown’ operates on so many levels of awareness, the physical being just the first one we encounter on our Journey through them.
    Being gentle with your Spirit is probably the nicest thing you can do for yourself, that and finding somewhere quiet to watch Mother Nature reclaim what is Hers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes yes yes! You have phrased this so beautifully. And I must say, watching Mother Nature reclaim herself has been astounding. I’m even growing fond of the rat that’s taken up residence under the hood of my car ;). Thank you, as always, for your wise words friend. I am so grateful for your perspective.


  4. A very comforting story. It is nice to have something like that to fall back on when you need a break from the rest of the world. I think I will dig into my memory for nice relaxing memory. Thanks


  5. This is beautiful. And your title is fitting. I grew up with the saying “More problems than a cat on a hot tin roof”…it’s kind of fitting for the world right now. Thanks for sharing the memory.


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