My phone says, “Tornado Warning,” meaning a tornado is imminent and inevitable, the simultaneous moment the tornado hits, windows shaking, thunder a heavy fist delivering drunk, sonic blows. I like that the Tornado Warning arrives the second the tornado arrives, that the “Warning” part is and always will be a joke. Almost like the tornado itself texted me. Hey girl, I’m here. Meet me outside.
It is not a bad one, not for us. My partner and I run into the bathroom with armfuls of pillows, fill the tub with them, dive in, crouch together as the power comes and goes like a fickle ghost. Turned on the camp lantern to illuminate our tile bunker in a freakish and animated glow. Held each other, tangled up. Waited.
In the moments of the storm, during the raucous symphony of thunder and lightning and splintering branches and the total absence of animal sounds, I think about people who have survived being struck by lightning, their “tattoos,” red Lichtenberg figures burned into flesh, the mark of the world’s chaos and energy. A claiming, a branding. The violence choosing you.
Most people who are struck by lightning survive. People can survive so much. I should be comforted.