Can You Hear The Lightning? Can You See The Thunder? Run!

October 26, 2009
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Rain dripped down my face and chest as I stood in the shadow of the thick, grey clouds overhead. I ran through the wall of falling water, buckets pouring millions of droplets down on me. I tore down the streets of Bexley, like a shirtless airplane, making my way through cloudy skies. Turbulence was shaking me all over, but I kept going. I turned on the “Faster Seatbelts” signs and prepared for a bumpy ride. Passengers were screaming. Luggage was dropping out of the overhead compartments, scattering clothing all over the floor. My co-pilot, prepared the parachutes. But I wasn’t going to give up. I was flying through the rain clouds, soaring. I was swimming through the sea of rain, and I didn’t come up for air, not even once. I swam for miles. I flew for miles. Thunder boomed behind me, followed by flashes of lightning. But I was faster. It was all behind me now, everything, and I didn’t care. I just kept on running, letting the rain push me forward, like a tidal wave. I was fast. I was real fast.


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It was a beautiful day, sunny, perfect for mowing the lawn. I despised cutting the grass, and so did my Dad. I felt that we could let the grass grow for at least a few more weeks, but Dad insisted, and I mowed. I mowed the lawn around once every other week week, on Sunday afternoons, through the hot, sticky air of springs and summers in central Columbus. Jacob and I alternated mowing responsibilities, but he always took the credit, all the time. I remember that beautiful day. I remember not looking forward to mowing the lawn. I saw it coming, I expected it, but I was not looking forward to it. After breakfast, Dad proclaimed those magic words, “How about mowing the lawn today?” and my destiny was made clear. I was definitely going to spend the first hour or so of my day trimming blades of grass. Perfect.

As I lugged myself to the garage to get the mower, I stubbed my toe. In an enraged hop, I made my way to the garage door. My Dad’s car was parked too close to the door, like always, thus making it impossible to push the mower outside. Once again enraged, I hoisted the mower over my head, noticing the menacing, dirt-caked, grass-cutting blades floating over me. I felt like a criminal, hopeless and in pain from a stubbed toe, awaiting the sharp end that the guillotine would surely provide. Slowly, I made my way through the garage door and I plopped the mower on the ground. Most mowing days began this way. I did not enjoy mowing the lawn.


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I was in the middle of the street, raindrops slapping me all over. It was pouring now. Everyone fled to their homes, to escape the storm. The sewers were overflowing, spurting water, flooding the streets. My shoes were full of water. My hair was soaked. My shorts were soaked. I was walking on water. I ran down Remington, then Powell, then Gould. I splashed in the puddles. I screamed and shouted and drank the water coming from the heavens. Big gulps. I ran to Sam’s place, he had to experience this. He had to be here. He would appreciate the sheer beauty and power of this rain. He would run with me. We could splash in every puddle in town.


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Then came the electrical cables. Our mower was unique. It did not run on gas, like those of my neighbors, nor did it run on an electric battery, like that of Mr. Huston, the man who lived down the block, who, as an employee of Lowe’s, was always trying to get us to buy new pieces of yard equipment. Once, he offered us a deal on the latest gas chainsaw, until he nearly cut down our front yard tree. He stopped coming around after that incident. Our mower was unique in the fact that it plugged into our house. I would connect extension cord to extension cord, which ultimately ended in a power outlet on the side of my house. Every time I mowed, I would have to avoid the electrical, orange snake that followed me across the lawn. The cords were in a black milk crate, always tangled, always haphazardly arranged, always impossible to unknot. After accomplishing the impossible, I plugged the mower into the house and began to mow. Almost immediately I began to sweat. The sun was high in the sky, burning everything. I could see the heat rising from our black, tar driveway. These were far too extreme weather conditions to be mowing in. But I continued to mow. The cord would consistently fall out of the mower, instantaneously cutting the mower’s power. I would then have to turn the dead mower around, plug the cursed cord back in, and continue mowing until the cord fell out again. I would cut the grass in vertical rows across the yard, avoiding the island of mulch, plants, and a single climbing tree in the middle of the lawn. Up and down. Up and down. Up and… I stepped in a pile of dog s**t.

I was done. I couldn't continue. I had had enough of mowing the lawn and stubbing my toes and lifting dangerous cutting machines over my head and humid, arid air and knotted electrical cords and piles of hot, steaming dog s**t. I had had it! I turned the mower off and collapsed into the bed of freshly cut grass. I only had two rows of lawn left to cut, but I was too p'd off to finish. I gave up. I quit. I lost; the mower had defeated me. The mower had succeeded in ending my reign of mowing mastery. As I lay there, among grass clippings and insects, I noticed the sky had darkened. The perfect, blue firmament of earlier that day had become a dark, fluffy, accumulation of rain clouds. It was going to rain, hard, and I still had to finish mowing the lawn. And I didn’t even want to think about what would happen if the electrical, orange snake got wet. Or the mower. I jumped to my feet and started the mower up again. I felt drops. I moved up and down the lawn. More drops. The cord fell out of the mower. A light drizzle. I plugged it back in and kept going. It was starting to come down. I cut the rest of the lawn with speed and finesse. I emptied the bag of grass clippings. I wrapped the cord up, messily and unorganized, and I threw it into the black milk crate. I brought the mower back to the garage, hoisted it above my head and pushed it into the corner. I slammed the garage door shut. Finished.

It began to pour. I ran to the front yard and yelled at the leaking sky. I beat the lawn. I beat the mower. I beat the elements. I beat it all. You got nothing on me! I tore my shirt off and ran into the street, with a grin on my face. It was pouring in central Columbus. Rain dripped down my face and chest as I stood in the shadow of the thick, grey clouds overhead.





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Bethani said...
Mar. 25, 2010 at 9:38 pm
i love your story. you have great characters and is it based on experience? but next time i would suggest not having huge gaps. i find it distracting. keep up writing!
 
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