The Storm

Plot summary

Bobinôt and his four-year-old son, Bibi, are at Friedheimer's store when a particularly violent storm begins to emerge. The two decide to remain at the store until the storm peters out. Bobinôt then decides to buy a can of shrimp for his wife, Calixta, while the pair waits for the storm to abate.

Meanwhile, back at their house, Calixta is so occupied with her sewing that, at first, she does not notice the ominous clouds or thunder. Finally, she notices that it is growing darker outside and decides to shut the windows and retrieve Bobinôt's clothes, which are hanging outside. Alcée, one of Calixta's former beaus, rides up on his horse and helps her remove the remaining clothes from the line.

The storm worsens and Calixta invites Alcée into her home until it abates. Alcée is hesitant to come in and stays outside until it becomes apparent that the storm is not going to let up. Calixta gathers up the lengths of cotton sheet she had been sewing while Alcée takes a seat in the rocker. Calixta goes over to the window and observes the intensity of the storm and worries about her husband and son. Alcée attempts to comfort her and reminisces about the passion they once felt for each another. As the storm increases in intensity, so does the passion of the two former lovers. Alcée brings up the passion and love they once had for one another. The adulterers' sexual encounter ends at the same time as the storm. Alcée rides off on his horse.

Bobinôt and Bibi return from the grocery store and Calixta immediately embraces them. Bobinôt presents his gift of the can of shrimp to his wife and she remarks that they will feast that night. Meanwhile, Alcée writes a loving letter to his wife, Clarisse, and encourages her to stay in Biloxi as long as she needs. He notes that their well-being is more important than the separation anxiety that he endures. Clarisse is charmed by the letter and is happy in Biloxi because she feels free, as if she were a maiden again. Though she is devoted to her husband, Clarisse feels that she is able to forego intimacy with him for some time. The story ends with the short line, "So the storm passed and every one was happy."

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