August 15, 2020

Tornado

Storms today. Maybe it’s because I’m back in the Midwest, but a memory flashed to mind that I haven’t thought about in years. I was six years old and playing with some of the neighborhood kids in a park somewhere south of Chicago. The sky turned black and green. The sound of something terrible filled the air, a cosmic revving that stopped us cold on the grass. Our little faces tilted up as we watched the clouds swirl. I remember the texture of the air, the sense of something being sucked from the world before it returned in terrible form. Maybe it was the barometer dropping, the rearrangement of air pressure. Decades later, this sensation returns whenever the telephone rings with bad news.

The grown-ups argued about whether we should take shelter in the cars or under the trees. But here comes my mom, racing toward us across the field, scooping me into her arms—maybe scooping all of us because she was a hero that day, the way she scooched us under the picnic tables while she lay on top of me, her breath in my ear saying don’t worry, hunny bunny, it’s gonna be alright while that terrible engine crossed the sky and took the roof of a nearby gazebo with it.

I remember her face that day, filled with love and instinct and knowing exactly what to do. I knew she would have died for me, for any of us. Sometimes I fight to remember her this way. Because as the years passed, she didn’t know what to do. Most of the time, none of us do. But we have our moments.


Tropic of Cancer – I Woke Up And The Storm Was Over

Stop Suffering | Blackest Ever Black, 2015 | Bandcamp
Each night in 2020 I'm writing a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I want to etch these days into my memory before I forget them. Before the world changes completely.
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