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LJI, Week 16: Thunderclap

I am terrified of thunderstorms.

I inherited it.

I learned to be alert to the slightest rumble, even in my sleep.  Unplug every electrical appliance.  Take the aluminium off the "bunny ears" on the tv.  Avoid the windows.  And for God's sake, get out of the tub!  Get away from water!  Do you want to get electrocuted?

Growing up in the South, this is the litany of my summers.  At least, when we lived with Granma.

Always the fear that the wind and the rain and the white hot Devil's Forks would somehow find us.

Years later, she told me the story of her mother, my beloved great grandmother, unused to the country and the language and this weird weather and how she would gather them around the kitchen table.  Late at night, rousting nine children from their beds to hold hands around the kitchen table and pray for the house to be spared.  How the first television Grandpa bought--the first in the neighborhood--blew up because it was plugged in during a freak storm.  How my mother, my uncle, and my grandfather once outran an Illinois cyclone in a 62 Chevy truck with one missing fender and a questionable battery.

But they made it.  In every story, they made it.

But the story always starts with the thunderstorms.  And she puts a brave face on it.  But she's a grownup who is scared.

I'm scared of grownups, but we huddle under blankets and pray and pretend to be brave until the lights come back on.  And I'm brave for her, too.

I pretend to be brave.

Now she is small and weak and in that fucking bed, too far gone to remember what brave is.  Half the time she doesn't remember who I am.  But I sit in the chair next to her bed, holding her hand, mumbling nonsense to comfort myself.

It is near a window.

The noise is sharp.  We both jerk.

"Get away from the window!"

Did I imagine it?  Does it matter?

I let go of her hand.

I walk in thunderstorms now, not sure if it is in honor of her or daring someone, something to honor the debt I owe her.

I am terrified of them.  But I want one, just one, to come for me.

I owe her that.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
spikesgirl58
Apr. 26th, 2017 07:22 am (UTC)
*hugs* Good luck!

And if you want to avoid them entirely, come here. We've had two in the thirty years I lived here.
adoptedwriter
Apr. 26th, 2017 08:52 am (UTC)
Hugs... The fear is real. I grew up in Ohio, a tornado belt. In '74 we had a huge F-4 come through here.
I thought The Wizard Of Oz's tornado scene was scary till the real deal happened.
yesididit2
Apr. 26th, 2017 10:17 pm (UTC)
*hugs* i dont like thunder, but i like rain and i like lightning. thunder always manages to startle the crap out of me. when i was a little kid my dad told me how each second between the lightning and the thunder meant how far away it was, so i could tell that it wasnt going to 'get' me. i spent many nights watching lightning and counting for the thunder so i could know i was safe.
penpusher
Apr. 27th, 2017 03:18 pm (UTC)
What a tender and touching tribute. Many good wishes.
marlawentmad
Apr. 29th, 2017 02:24 pm (UTC)

This story is so poignant. It reminded me of my mother's story about her German grandmother who roused her from bed many nights to sit in the cold, dirt floor basement to pray through thunderstorms.

alycewilson
Apr. 30th, 2017 11:04 am (UTC)
She must have lived through some scary experiences to be so afraid of storms!
swirlsofblue
May. 1st, 2017 02:43 pm (UTC)
This is so powerful. Brilliantly done.
bewize
May. 1st, 2017 04:32 pm (UTC)
Lovely imagery. I read through to the end, but I admit I don't understand the debt you owe your grandmother. I cannot imagine she would want you to risk yourself.

I've lived through a tornado and they are terrifying. I can't imagine how frightened those in the car must have been.
eternal_ot
May. 2nd, 2017 04:56 am (UTC)
The terror comes through and I don't blame your grandma who's had so many experiences. a nice take! *Hugs*
murielle
May. 2nd, 2017 07:02 am (UTC)
I fall asleep to thunderstorms. They soothe me, the rumble and roar of them rock me to sleep. It's so much more normal to be afraid of them I think. Your great grandmother sounds wonderful. (Hugs)

My favourite line: "I'm scared of grownups,.." Me too!

Great take on the prompt! Brava!

dmousey
May. 2nd, 2017 10:22 am (UTC)
I'm with Murielle, I too am soothed by a good storm! What does that say about us? As long as it isn't a hurricane, I'm fine. Have lived through several of those, and the damage they do here in Atlantic City area.

My Pop told me when I was small thunderstorms were the Gods bowling. Anytime a particularly loud rumble or crash came it was a Strike! I'm grateful for that..

Clowns though... :-0 Hugs and peace~~~
flipflop_diva
May. 2nd, 2017 07:07 pm (UTC)
This is such a sweet, but sad, tribute!

I live in the south now, and the thunderstorms are definitely intense. I like them when I'm home and curled up on the couch. My poor dog does not feel the same.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )