Wide Awake

Charlotte could remember when she was little, that she used to be petrified of thunder. Someone had told her that thunder was enchanted so that if you heard it, you would immediately be struck by a bolt of lightning. Now, as a thirteen year old, she was to wise and mature for these kinds of things. Those times were the past, not the future, when she had been a silly, quite annoying, fledgling.  Most people said that she missed her father. Maybe she did, and maybe she didn’t. Charlotte would never let on.

Tonight was one of those days when you discover you’ve been hiding something from yourself. I was laying awake, deep in thought, when I heard the rumbling of thunder. A bolt of lightning soon followed. It was actually quite a beautiful thing- the way it lit up the sky, wanting to show the world its power. When I was little, I used to go downstairs whenever there was thunder. My mom would then hug me and cuddle me until the fear passed away like an ocean tide. Once, my dad was down there. Before he got hurt. Before he left me forever.

“What are you doing here?” he asked me. He was sipping a cup of tea, the way he liked it- topped with chocolate shavings. My dad had always been known for his weird tastes.
“I’m scared. The thunder is too loud,” I replied anxiously.
After I said that, Dad just stared outside the window for a long time. I couldn’t really tell what he was doing then- I didn’t understand that you could look at scary things in a beautiful way, and see them for what they really were.
After what seemed like half an hour, he finally turned back to me. He had one of those really shining smiles on his face.
“You don’t need to be scared. Come look.” He urged me toward the window. I was clinging to his arm as if my life depended on it when we eventually got there.

“Just look outside. Tell me what you see.” I looked. There wasn’t even the slightest rustle in the leaves for what seemed like forever… and then I saw it. A simple bolt of lightning, illuminating the world down below it like a night star. For once, I could see all the wisps of air, all the whirling leaves, and the glowing water of our backyard pond. In the distance, I heard the thunder rolling proudly, calling, This is me! This is my world! My cosmos!

“The storm will pass soon. Listen,” Dad told me. I listened, mesmerized, as the latest roll of drums celebrated the storm up above me. And then, my dad started counting. Calmly. Just counting.
“One, two, three, four, five, six…” the next roll of thunder started again.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…” and it boomed again.
“Each second is like a mile. The storm is passing. It’s all going to be fine, Charlotte,” Dad told me.

-Back to the present
I stared out of the window again. Before I saw the lightning, I heard the proud roll of drum beats, announcing the arrival of the storm.
I laid my head back and started counting.
“One, two…”

I fell into a deep sleep.

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