Posted by Allison Smith
I feel the loneliest during a storm.
Thunder, pounding on my walls like a rude neighbor, wakes me up. My eyes widen dramatically. It is hard now to believe that they were ever closed.
My still sleepy mind doubts that I had just heard thunder. Sudden lightning provides the evidence I need.
It is a thunderstorm.
A short growl from the storm repeats me.
Silent lightning casts quick shadows on my floor.
My mind empties out and instinct takes over my body. My spine begins to elongate.
Wind blows rain into my room through my open window. My curtains are wet. I hope the rain does not reach me.
I will not take my eyes off of the window.
I lift my head and move the pillow I was sleeping out from under me. Without drawing too much attention to myself, I move the pillow behind me and slowly back my body up against it.
Thunder forces me to fall deeper into the pillow.
I almost forgot about my bear. The little stuffed animal is nowhere to be found.
Slowly, I stick my arm out across my queen size bed. I run my hand along the sheets and under the quilt. I hope I feel my bear. I do not.
My bear probably fell on to the floor.
I roll over onto my stomach and am immediately stopped by a spotlight grazing over me. I freeze.
Thunder rumbles and I begin to count.
In preschool, all of our chubby faces were pressed against the window in the reading corner.
My teacher, Queen Maureen, told us to start counting after we heard the terrifying thunder. Our little mouths move in unison.
The number of seconds we counted, the farther away the storm was and the safer we were.
7...and then comes the expected lightning.
7 seconds. 7 miles.
I do not move until thunder claps its hands in my ear. I have a short amount of time before the lightning strikes.
Quickly, I slide across the bed and plant my hand on the ground. My lungs are constricted in this position and I feel blood rush to my head.
Anxiously, I run my fingers across my cell phone, a book, chap stick, nail polish, a pen, a lost earring, a piece of candy, a screw, a crack in the wood floor, and finally my bear.
Lightning strikes while I am still bent over the side of my bed.
I have been exposed.
My throat swells up. My stomach has an uncontrollable hunger that I know will never be satisfied.
I waste no time and fling myself backwards, like a breaching whale. I fall onto the pillow I had placed against the wall.
I hug my bear tightly into my chest. I close my eyes and place my chin on top of my bear's head.
I listen to the rain smacking against the pavement and tree leaves outside. Lightning will turn the back of my eyelids red. Thunder will remind me not to sleep.
I want to appreciate every moment of the storm.
I feel small.
My bear feels big.
The thunder humbles me.
The lightning shows me my size.
Sometime during the night, my bear had slipped off my bed again. The clock sitting on my bedside table flashes 2:04. Outside my window I can see the sun rise through its own steam.
The power had been out for nearly two hours and my alarm did not wake me up for school.
I walk down the soft, carpeted steps and meet my mother sitting on a stool in the kitchen. Through the bay window behind her I see two trees have fallen into my yard. I am disappointed that I did not hear the crackle and snap of the wood splintering. I wish I saw the limbs, leaves and branches bounce off the ground.
My mother is stabbing her long fingers against the iPad screen. She mumbles in response to my exhale that all of eastern Massachusetts has lost power.