After our appointments, we decided we needed some fatty, greasy food. We sat in Ben's Burgers waiting for the meat to cook, and I listened to KKIQ blasting through the restaurant's speakers. Lady Gaga, followed by Jimmy Eat World, followed by Nickelback. Really? Then I heard it. The glorious weather report that informed me of the thunderstorm that was fourteen miles away and moving in our direction. Hallelujah!
We picked up our bag of delicious burgers and fries and headed home. As I drove, my eager eyes scanned the dark clouds.
Once parked in the driveway, the drops of rain began to fall more consistently. I stepped out of the car and stood, face up to the sky, my skin drinking in the drops from heaven. Then I heard it. My old friend Thunder was creeping across the sky and my heart and nose and skin were instantly transported to an early time, an earlier me. I was 6, scared in bed at the roar of the skies. I was 9, playing outside as the storm moved closer. I was in a greener, more humid place.
In real time, I was about to cry. Why? Why does something that brings me so much joy cause a bittersweet pain deep in my chest? The best explanation I have is that these memories of a younger, carefree time make me happy, but the knowledge that those times are forever lost saddens me. The hollow ache comes when I think of all the family members who have passed through the veil, those people who I love so much and who are no longer in that greener, more humid place. The places that are the most special to me were not made that way on their own. They were made magnificent by the people with whom I shared those spaces.
If the people are gone, do the locations hold the same power?
I went inside our house, leaving just the screen closed so that I could hear the roar and the splatter through the open doorway. I put on a sweatshirt and slippers and sat at the table in front of an open window. I watched the sky come to life with a flash. I heard the clouds echo with power. I saw the street splash and flow with cleansing rain. I was filled with joy, with a sense of peace and a knowledge that, though some things have to change, pieces of the magic will always return to spark a memory and bring life to sleeping dreams.