The only sound is the crackle of ice melting in my glass, it sits by the bed on a little table, the glass frosted from the ice and frozen vodka.
The night is restless, as am I, the trees sway soundlessly through the closed window, they are dark against the darker night, only a hint of movement, but I can feel their restlessness, their yearning to break free from the bonds of earth to walk among us. Silent screams of rage trapped inside their barky faces. Rage that the passing storm did nothing to help them break free of the sodden earth.
Earlier, when I was still on my first glass, the storm was raging, rumble of thunder and flashing lightening broke through the sheets of rain. With the lights off I enjoyed the show, reminded of my youth. Sitting patiently, on the screen porch, face pressed close enough to the wire screen that you could feel the damp wet rain as it splashed on the sill. Sitting there, waiting for the thunder burst to end so we could return to the fields of summer. The wet grass and clean smell drawing us from the shelter of the house even as the last drops were falling, the clouds parting as rays of the summer sun shown godlike from the sky. Back then the season we waited for all year was too short, we used it up. Outside against the dark night, my memories played like an old 8mm movie, with fits and starts, grainy through the memory of time. The storm a soundtrack to my inner show, rain, hail, and thunder.
The storm passed, or at least retreated to regain strength, I had retired to bed, to sit and stare out the window, lost in memory of a day long past, the lights out. Watching the swaying trees, imagining their pain. Well past midnight and not sleepy, the third drink dulling my senses, bringing with it my old friend, melancholy.
Suddenly the dark turned to blinding orange-white, blinding me at the same instant that the deafening explosion shook the house, scaring me and my dog. At first I thought that my neighbor’s house had exploded, but when my sight returned, I realized it was just a very close strike. With no distinguishable gap between the flash and the deafening sound, it had to be close, very close. Calming my scared dog, the bolt had awakened in me a childlike wonder. What tree in my back yard was split from the bolt of fire? Could I go out and see it now? Would I see a burned out trunk? Recalling my childhood, we used to say that if you found a thunderstruck tree after the storm, the wood was still filled with magical power.
You could take a piece of that charred trunk and make black magic, like foresee the future, make a wish or cure warts. In my wonderment, I almost woke my son to tell him that we needed to go look for it in the morning when it got light, then I remembered that he is seventeen. The world is not so small as the believe in magic like we did in those days, now there are video games and TVs in every room.
Still tomorrow I might wander into the woods and see what’s there.
The rime of frost into glass is creeping down the glass, it’s jagged border is about half an inch below the vodka line, that means its time for another slug.
©The Autobiography of Mr. Perfect, 2013