SHE HATED STORMS
She hated storms. Storms stir things up. They shake things. Rattle them. Put pets on edge, & people into a panic. Yet it was a “dark and stormy night.”
Like the atmospheric pressure that had been building all afternoon as hateful clouds bearing dark countenances hovered nearby, her feelings had been building in intensity, just waiting for that gust of wind that would blow them gale force through the very heart of her soul. It was not so bad when those feelings, like the storm on the horizon, lingered in the distance. She knew that they were there, menacing, threatening, yet not acting out anything. But, oh, when that thunderous moment hit suddenly, like a lightning strike, her tears were unleashed like the rain from the most pregnant of clouds. And so it began.
She had hurried home from work in preparation of the anticipated severe weather event, but emails, texts, and phone calls prevented her from attending to everything in time. She had just settled into a steaming hot bath heavy with the scent of lavender when, like a dam bursting, the storm hit. Like a flash, she exited the tub, thankful that she was at least clean, if not relaxed, and she settled in to ride out the storm alone, except for her puppy, and her emotions.
The torrential downpour beat so hard upon her windows that she thought the water would explode right into her bedroom at any moment, and her puppy hunkered down in his own little corner, whimpering when lightning and thunder rattled the very house. She pulled the floral comforter up close about her neck, and with the next lightning flash came an unbidden memory, as unexpected and unwanted as the lightning. And like the elements of the storm, it brought with it a waterfall as tears hastened in newly formed rivulets down her cheeks.
They say that Time is a liar, that he is a fraud that does not really exist. That everything that has ever happened is happening all at one moment, and all at once. Unfathomable on any given day, but at that instant she was both physically in her own little house in her own bed while mentally and emotionally she was elsewhere. Her heart leapt back effortlessly across time and space to a cabin up high in the mountains and the sounds she heard outside her window were a trick played by Deja Vu, for they were identical to the ones she experienced on that blissful night, snuggled up close to him, the man that she had loved more than any other.
On that night, she had felt no dread, for she felt, for once in her life, totally and completely safe as she lay there listening to his heart beat in between claps of thunder, feeling his breath on her neck as she spooned inside the concave hollow he had fashioned for her, smelling the masculinity of him from a day spent out in the woods, and seeing occasional eerie and grotesquely shaped ghosts when the electricity Nature was spewing forth illuminated the room. Ah, but she had no fear of those ghosts, for he had promised he would always protect her, and she had believed in him with all of her heart.
But though she held him in such high esteem, somehow, that night up in that mountain cabin, she had tasted a single tear as with a jolt she had an impression she could not identify. This night, many years later, she tasted tears again, but this time there were as many tears as there were years that had elapsed between them. She had not seen him in forever. Was he even still walking planet Earth? Did he ever think of her? Did he miss the feel of her snuggled against him on stormy nights? Was he married to another woman, and if so, did she fill the void? Or could he, possibly, unimaginably, be like her, alone in his bed somewhere, weathering the exact same storm and wondering if she was doing the same? These things she wondered, but had absolutely no clue whatsoever as to the answers to the questions. Oddly, she was not sure if she even really wanted to know the answers, or if she just wanted someone – him, or a man like him – to hold her until the storms had passed.
But like her father who had abandoned the family when she was old enough to remember, yet too young to have a sense of what it was like to really feel the protection of a man, several men had since abandoned her. They came into her life like the storms, shook it up, then like the storms, suddenly they were gone. Finally, she dried her own tears, quieted her mind, and despite the fact that the rain was still assailing her abode, she fell asleep. When she awakened, all was quiet. She had survived yet another storm – by herself. And survival was, after all, the very crux of life.
The snoring she heard, though, unlike that of the night so very long ago, was just that of her puppy, who, spent from fearing the deluge, was finally at rest. How many storms now existed between her and her husband of yesteryear? For each and every one of those storms, there existed a moment of disbelief, an instant where she felt betrayed all over again. His promises of protection now rang hollow, except for when she was shocked into remembrance. No, she thought, Time most assuredly exists, for it had taken its toll on her. Time and Space had joined forces to create a vacuum wherein her yesterdays, todays and tomorrows all coexisted until some maelstrom caused an explosion of sorts wherein she had no choice but to face them all together, all at once.
Yes, Time existed, but he was indeed an Imposter, for she could, during those intense moments, feel everything at the same time. Every promise made, every promise broken, every storm experienced, every moment of upheaval and turbulence, and every second of peace and hope all melded into a single experience. For a moment, the briefest of moments, she felt safe against the storms again. Safe in the arms of the one she loved. But like the lightning flash, the moment passed as quickly as it had arrived, leaving her to pause in wonder, waiting for the next shock of electricity, the next flood, the next time when she, like Nature, would lose control and unleash her turmoil into the atmosphere.
She sighed, a great big upheaval from deep down inside of her soul, and then she quieted. Like her puppy, she was spent from her fears,and she had no more to offer. It was time to rest. Slowly she drifted back to sleep. The storm had died down outside, and once again, in her dreams, she had a flashback to that moment in time when he held her close, and she felt at peace, not realizing that it was just a dream. She sighed again, this time a small sigh of contentment as images of the two of them happy together danced across her subconscious. Still, she hated storms …
-Lou Lehman Sams