When I was a very small child, we're talking like 3-4 years old, I have a memory of standing in my little pajamas looking out the back glass door of my house at a thunderstorm. I used to be afraid of loud noises in general, even the vacuum cleaner but something about a storm just compelled me to watch, to stand there as it raged on overhead. I stood in front of that door with a little plastic cup of water in my hand as bedtime drew ever closer completely captivated by the flashes of lightning and just marvelling at how the door would rattle when the bigger thunderclaps sounded out from the sky. To the little me it was magic, something wonderful and inexplicable... And to a point, I never really lost that amazement.
More recently a thunderstorm became something of a deeper emotional significance. Now I don't dare mention the name of the person who left this imprint on my personality as with their current attitude they'd be liable to try and sue my ass or step up their campaign of lies and slander against me for it but it should suffice to say that they have held, and still hold an emotional significance to me that is unrivalled. She feared thunderstorms, and in all likelihood still does. She would always contact me wherever I was when a storm came through because she would be simply terrified. On occasion she'd come down to lay with me in my bed as the storm shook the house just needing to be held, needing to be told that everything was going to be okay. She'd cling to my teddy bear, a cherished piece of my childhood who dates back to the day of my birth, as if hugging the tattered little fellow would take her away to a world where the storms wouldn't trouble her anymore. I'd hold her, she'd cringe or jump at every crash as the lightning tore through the sky and the thunder crackled and battered the windows with the wind and rain, and I'd tell her it would all be over soon enough, and that she was safe... There have been but a precious few other times in my life where I have ever felt so needed, so important to another being, and I'll never forget how I felt in those moments.
On one, and only one occasion, I managed to convince her to stand outside and watch as the storm blew off into the distance. The rain had stopped, but the lighting could still be seen jumping between clouds in the distance and we able to just make out the sound of thunder faintly shaking the night air. For a time she stood there holding me, wanting to flee inside, but I just hugged her back and told her that it couldn't hurt her. We stood outside for nearly half an hour as the storm faded away and finally retreated indoors. I was so proud that she had managed to simply witness the natural beauty of the storm, something that had inflicted nothing except for pain and terror on her before that night.
In any case, I'm no longer the call as the thunder rolls in, I'm really nothing anymore as far as she is concerned and that's been made rather clear. There's a pain that comes with losing something like this that I just can't describe as anything less than missing a piece of yourself, and like losing a limb, there will be scars that are likely to never fully heal. One of the scars I feared would mar my heart forever was finally healed tonight though, I was able to reconnect with my memories as a child staring in awe up at the sky, feeling that connection to the natural beauty of this earth. I jogged out to a favourite, memorable spot as the storm raged feeling so free and calm that it was almost unnerving. The rain hitting my face as I ran, the lighting illuminating the world around me, and the thunder rumbling through my chest... The swirl of emotions that I felt was overwhelming and I couldn't do anything but laugh and smile and push myself to run faster and faster into the wonderful, charged night air. Soon enough I was sitting on the bleachers I once revered enough to make them a permanent symbol of my first love, the focus of which I've since lost, but the emotion remains as strong as ever. This was what I found, still as I had left it that day as I fended off mosquitoes to demonstrate, in a rather archaic though meaningful way, the depth of feeling that came with being in love.
|Taken through a Ziploc sandwich bag or "Phone Condom" as I called it, forgive the lacking quality.|
Regardless of my angst about the way everything of my old life came to an end, this storm, and revisiting such a central point in my history made me feel so at ease that it was almost scary. The trip home was cold and wet, but my heart was burning with a new love for my own existence, and an appreciation for the cast possibilities that the world holds for me in the future. No, I'll likely never share the love I once shared ever again, but I can appreciate that it was shared, and that is a truth in itself that brings me a level of happiness. I believe that I will always want back what I once had... But it is not solely my choice to make, another truth that I must accept.
I'm honestly not too sure as to what I meant for this post to accomplish, so I'll apologize for the rambling. It has however, helped me centre myself as I try to sleep, and to express how I feel about some very meaningful pieces of my life. I hope you've all at last gained an appreciation for the emotional and physical power of these storms as I have.
Enjoy your swim!
Joshua J. Taylor