Violent Thunderstorms

by Keegan Imami

It seemed, just a moment ago, that the sky would clear and the clouds would vacate to expose the sunlit moon and the stars above. After all, the forecast called for a rainless night. My clock sleeps silently on my nightstand, his eyes displaying a motionless red eleven o’clock on the ceiling above. I don’t have school tomorrow, though at this point I probably wouldn’t have cared if I did. A light rain taps at my window, which is situated to the immediate left of the desk I sit at. I strain to keep the broken neck of my lamp upright, for it keeps stooping like a man who has toiled his entire life only to have his back give out halfway through, loping and limping in the hopes of finding eternal rest. The rain outside starts to pick up its pace, the slow pitter-patter of the drops sap the ground, the grass and soil grateful for its wet and comforting touch. I slowly rise from my seat to push away the blinds and open the window a tad. The sweet and savory smell of the rain and once dry soil swallows me. There’s a word for that: petrichor. I breathe in deeply and exhale calmly, becoming for a moment an earthworm, submerged in the soil – half-blind and half-deaf, yet I can still taste it as it lingers at the back of my mouth. A low rumble from off in the distance makes the hair on my arms erect. Thunder. One of the most haunting yet pleasant sounds. Like a whale far off in the depths of the sea. I smile and shut the curtains, the pattern of the rain accelerating. After a few minutes, I shut my notebook, pages empty, and place the freshly sharpened pencil back on the wooden desk adjacent to it. I take my hands and rub my stinging eyes, knowing it is time to put that lamp out. I stumble into the darkness as my eyes stretch to adjust to the crepuscular shadows. I find the curtains and, just as I am about to pull them away from the window, a piercing light flashes like a sliver of a white sun. An intense clap of thunder resonates in me. At this point, you can hear nothing except for the pounding rain. 

It’s everywhere. The noise is all-encompassing. The wind howls as if all the wolves in the world conspired to do so.  I draw away the curtains, exposing a wringing-wet window. Whenever I was younger I used to watch the raindrops run down the window, betting on which would make it to the bottom first and claim victory. The wishy-washy color of the lamposts across the street offer some light, but not much, which I like. The floorboards groan above me and so do the walls around me. The entire house creaks once or twice as if it too is reveling in the storm. 

In this chaos, I realize how isolated I am. Despite the fact that my parents are sleeping on the floor above me, my brother and sister are on the floor above that. They’re asleep. The majority of people around here are probably out cold, and sometime in the early or late morning they will wake and exclaim, “O, it must have rained last night,” and not think anything else of it. That isn’t me though. I know that if something goes wrong, I’m alone. I like that. If some flash flood or mudslide (I live on the side of a hill) sweeps me away, I’ll be dragged down beneath those waves with nothing and no one to hold onto. If the world somehow ends in a blow as the rest of the world is asleep, at least I’ll be enjoying my last few moments listening to the gentle pitter-patter of the rain, the bellows of the solemn thunder, and the brilliant glints of lightning. That ceiling above is firm and robust, yet simply fragile, like my bones. If it were to fall down on me, I would be flattened, to put it bluntly, like a bug. A massive tree that stands tall above the land around it may be somehow uprooted, falling square into the side of my room, impaling me. And that will be it. And whatever follows will follow.

 

It’s that short period of time. That’s all you get. One minute of everything at once. And anything before is nothing. Everything after, nothing. And if I somehow I don’t make it out of here alive, at least I was taken under the rapture of something I cherish the most.

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