Saturday, June 25, 2011

Risking Lightning

     I'm not the kind of person who wakes up screaming. I don't have nightmares, I don't get confused about where I am and I don't worry too much when I can't remember the name of the person lying next to me (though I can tell you that it starts with an M and is 3 syllables long). So you can imagine my surprise when I was so rudely awakened by my own self mid-yell.

     Growing up on the West Coast, I was under the impression that I liked lightning storms. They're exciting and scary the way that kids television shows are. There's really nothing dangerous about lightning, not when the rumbles are split minutes apart. Had I grown up in the South, I might have a different opinion of the Earth's rogue electrical activity. They have real lightning storms there, ones that you sit and wait for. Ones you don't take a bath because of. Ones that sometimes come accompanied by dark green skies.

     So, like a moron, I arranged myself a front row seat beneath the skylight that was so close I could lift my hand and touch the glass. The storm was coming to Paris! I was gonna watch it.

     After one particularly bright flash, one that cranked my pupils down into pinprick dots, I climbed down the ladder out of my loft and decided to sleep on the couch because maybe I didn't want to be two feet below the lightning storm after all.

     Hours passed. I drifted off to sleep.

     Out of the void of dreamlessness: BOOM! And a flash so bright it was minutes before I could see again. I screamed myself awake and wondered if the lightning had struck so close it had perhaps struck me. I won't lie: I patted myself down to make sure all the pieces were in place. Intact. Lightning must have struck the roof, then.

     I considered flipping around the other way and putting my head away from the storm, but it was raining in that side of the house, so I just risked it.