Saturday, June 04, 2011

2 am Thunderstorm Thoughts

Thunder woke me at 2 am. I had seen the sheet lightning in the distance earlier as I sat in a balcony bar overlooking St. Ann and Dauphine Streets, occasional bright blue flashes to the east that could have been from someone’s flash camera but were not. When the storm came, I had been sleeping lightly, anyway, tossing and turning amid twisted sheets. The thunder had overcome the noise of the air conditioner by my bed, rolling over the city like a tidal wave of sound. I clambered out of bed and padded out into the living room to shut the windows against any possible deluge. Returning to the bedroom, I opened the curtains to the window by the bed. In California, we don’t have thunder and lighting, and they’re fascinating to me. Back in bed, I heard people in the streets, walking and biking by, trying to get home before the rain.

I’m used to being alone, and had been alone in this apartment for several days, but for some reason, 2 am aloneness is different. Suddenly, the loneliness felt palpable, and along with it came a sort of unrelenting, generalized fear. The sky flashed, but no rain came. It was like the tension between two lovers when you know there’s going to be a fight, but it hasn’t happened yet. To calm myself, I counted the number of people in town that I knew and could call on if I needed help, and came up with the impressive number of six, four whose numbers I had in my phone and two where I knew where they hung out. That made me feel better. Counting your blessings is always a helpful exercise. The normal panic thoughts tried to come: “why am I alone here?” for one, but I ignored them. I knew them for 2 am thunderstorm thoughts, and not for the truth they tried to convince me they were.  

The next day, I had plans: to do yoga, to meet a friend for beignets, to visit the Katrina memorial, to write, and to go see some last music before I leave on Monday.  Not the life of a lonely woman. I rolled over, away from the window, closed my eyes as purple flashes played across the ceiling, and fell asleep.

And the rain never came.

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