Thunderbolts

Thunderstorms are not romantic in Manhattan–not the way they should be. There are too many people peering out their windows and cowering in the subway stations waiting for the sheets of rain to pass. No chance of losing electricity in the city, no chance of being stranded with only a few candles, a flashlights, and a deck of cards.

When lightening strikes, I like to be alone. Or I like to be nearly alone.

When I was a child, the early evening thunderstorms rolled through my summer camp in August. My friend and I lied down and let the rain fall on us, hitting the hot blacktop and fizzling against our skin.

We grew into awkward teenage counselors and, hearing thunder, ushered the kids into the bunks and shut the doors. We would sit on the porch, the rain beating down on the soft, worn wood ramps, the screams of girls on one side and boys on the other. We let out hands dangle over the side and catch heavy raindrops in cupped palms. With the kids safely behind doors, we sat closer together, smelling one another’s sunblock and chlorine-washed skin as if for the first time. The thunder cracked like a whip, like a warning.

Outside my sophomore year dorm, my then boyfriend and I remained firmly planted in the pavement courtyard smiling like doped up animals. We grabbed shampoo, let it pour, and washed each others hair.

In June, Jon and I ran through Brooklyn while it stormed, huge bolts lighting up the sky and terrifying me. We collapsed on his bed and watched in horror as water flooded through the air conditioner in his window.

Last night I sat in my bed with the lights off staring out the window. The fog rolled over the skyline, taking the Empire State Building with it, and broke when it began to thunder.

I was completely alone, but I’m not sure I wanted to be anymore.

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