Some more life writing from A215.
As far back as I can remember I have always been afraid of thunder storms. I can; if I must, trace it back to the exact day, when the harmless flashes in the sky and soft rumblings went from being an act of god, to being a deadly act of nature, that had the power to bring the strongest woman I know to her knees.
I was barely eight years old. I remember the change in atmosphere inside the old Victorian classroom. A darkness that the teacher tried in vain to hide behind the flourescent lights. A silence that somehow felt warm and soothing as our pencils run across the page. I half hoped that the reddening sky was an indication of snow, I was still young and my mind was only just beginning to become aware of its surroundings. Seasons were something the teacher spoke about, they came and went, it made perfect sense to me that day as I sat in front of my wooden desk, that summer had ended and winter had arrived with its snow filled clouds.
I don’t remember how I got home. Whether I walked alone, or someone met me. I just recall sitting on the couch staring out of the window at the sky. I was so mesmerised by the colours of muted orange combined with a dirty grey. Anticipation bubbled in my stomach, a change was coming.
My Gran was visiting. She sat at the far end of the couch. Her silver white hair pinned back into a perfect bun, her blue house coat taut across her bust. Her skin was perfect, wrinkle free, I still have no idea how old she is, but I feel sure now that she is older than her appearance suggests. She smiled her warm smile at me. Her small lips pulled in tight, her eyes grinning happily at me. A change was coming, a change that would leave a dent in my persona for years to come.
I sat listening to my mother and gran talking. My mum is Scottish but has mastered the English accent to almost perfection. Sitting there listening however she slipped back into her Scottish roots. My gran’s accent was always the hardest to understand. Her strong Scottish accent carried her southern Irish roots heavily. Listening to them talk was beautiful. There accents acted as reassurance that I was amongst family.
A flash filled the room. The air was sucked from my lungs as the peaceful room became a chaotic scene. My grans voice boomed throughout the house the soft warm accent replaced by her Irish roots as a harsh to be feared scream echoed, my mum came running into the room. I had never seen my grans hair down lose before. It was long, so long it fell down her back into a perfect point settling just above her buttocks, the metal Kirby grips were discarded into the kitchen. ‘Stay down’ she shouted at me, she needn’t have shouted I was rooted to the spot. I watched as she scooped my younger sister up into her arms, one tug and the terry nappy fell to the floor, the metal safety pins discarded, also into the kitchen. My mum spun through the living room switching of the plug sockets the tv died, leaving a small white flash in the centre of the screen. ‘Stay down, stay down.’ she demanded as if knowing what was coming next. The bang shook through the house, tears sprung to my eyes. Loud and long. My hands begun to shake. ‘Its okay, its just god.’ she said. For the first time I knew she was lying. She pressed her fingers to her St Christopher and started mumbling, her words were fast and cloaked in accent.
I sat there unsure of why I wasn’t allowed to move, unsure of what would happen if I did. Flashes continued to fill the room as the storm grew closer. ‘Count between the flashes.’ someone said. I felt that the red sky had betrayed me.
Before long I begun twitching in my seat. My own body was betraying me as I tried hard, to not think about the wee that was filling my bladder. Desperation was not far away and I began to panic. ‘Go toilet.’ my mum demanded. I was suddenly aware of how much I missed my dad. I had only been living at my mums house for a couple of months, bought up by my dad I was still finding my feet in this new and confusing home. ‘It wont be for long’ he had said as he kissed me good bye. I longed now for his reassuring words, for his lies that god was banging around up stairs playing with the light switches, I wanted anything but the truth, this truth.
I don’t know if finally someone told me or if perhaps I conjoured my own image but I somehow knew. The lightening was waiting for an unsuspecting person to cross between the windows. It raged through the sky getting angrier and angrier as it missed. I could see the path it would take. Crashing through the back window that over looked the garden before zapping the life out of whoever dared to move. I was eight years old and scared, and in my young and innocent mind I believed that my mum wanted that person to be me, she wanted me to stand up, to sacrifice myself to thunderous god above, and move before the window, she wanted the lightening to take me, she didn’t want me.
There was a storm last night. He slowly rumbled through the skies. It waited till the dead of night, when its flashes would cause the most fright. The sheets of lightening filled the entire sky, once twice three times in a matter of seconds I pulled the cover up over my head, hating that the flashes had the power to penetrate through my eye lids, there is no escape from the angry light that fills the night. The rumbles were low and long, grumbling through the torrential rain. As the storm grew closer I quivered beneath the bed clothes, the windows of my once safe bedroom taunting me with their threat of death. I counted, 1,2,3,4 and jumped as the room shook. I listened to the in-between sounds, the soft snores from the other room, I listened to innocence of her as she slept through the anger. Until gratefully I fell into slumber, grateful that another storm had passed without me passing this terrible fear onto my beautiful daughter, who believes that every once in a while even god needs to go onto the time out chair.