I moved outside when it started. First it bounced back and forth between the clouds far in the distance, the background, the completion of the scene. Hippos grunted and blew, sending spray from the Chobe River towards the heavens. The winds intensified and the lightening, having sufficiently stretched and warmed up decided it was time to start striking treetops.
I still couldn't hear the thunder because the bolts struck too far away. I felt the storm intensifying, wind grew stronger and the rains came. But I stood transfixed, bolted to the spot, mesmerized by the lightening.
Ed was born on the first of November. His mom, Donna(whom I probably owe about a thousand cokes) invited B.D. and me to join Ed for a haunted house tour followed by pizza to celebrate his personal New Year. We rolled around the back of the station wagon on the way to the big city.
Some JayCee volunteer led us through the gymnasium turned house of terror. I brought up the rear. We went past the bowls of spaghetti and peeled grapes, mostly bored with the whole thing, caught as we were between childhood and the land of grown-ups. Then we stepped into a room with a pulsing strobe light that was tin-foiled wall to ceiling.
The strobe light flashed on and off. I felt someone watching me. I turned to see a man wrapped in tin foil, only his eyes visible. Every flash brought him much closer. I pushed B.D. to push Ed to get the fuck out of there.
The same terror grew while I watched the lightening but I didn't want to move, knowing that seeing an electrical storm such as this must be a rare event. I tried but failed to count between the strike and the thunder to gauge the distance of the strikes. There were simply too many of them to distinguish between.
I gave up on that silliness when one struck closely enough to stand the hairs up on the back of my neck. The crack deafened but didn't make my ears ring. I wondered about that lack of tinnitus(the frequency of the sound or too much cumulative damage from sitting on the speakers at a Vegetable Spit concert as a teenager?) while I hid under the covers waiting for the storm to end. The strikes came nearly constantly, for an hour there was more light than dark.
I surveyed the damage in the morning. Fences and trees blown down everywhere and the helicopter cover shredded into a Betty Flintstone(Rosy O'Donnell, not the sexy cartoon version) dress. The wind knocked over three houses with straw roofs and wood walls at the nearby village.
24 years ago this very day
5 hours ago