Sunday, 4 August 2013


There has been some healing needed of late for me and my best friend and tonight the thunder and lightning finally came, having been waiting for a long time, since the day I came to the airport and the whole sky exploded around us in purple and jagged rictures of light, as if it was saying, This is the beginning of something else for you and you need to be afraid. But also: oh my God, it is so fucking beautiful, this new and terrifying thing. You have no idea to what extent the world is about to split apart but it is going to and if you are prepared this is the backdrop to your new reality: a sky lit up with pure electricity, a force so powerful it could set the entire world on fire.

Today it came back. It has been a while and things have not been easy but this is the way when the sky splits apart: it is not easy. We stripped down to swimsuits and underwear and stood on the balcony as everything ripped apart around us and we watched the lightning and ducked the thunder and raised our glasses over our heads. At moments I was struck somewhere deep inside me with the feeling that if I just lifted my glass higher, it would catch a bolt and I would be electrified from the cheers to the toes. This was not an idle fancy: my balcony is on the top floor of the tallest house and we were under the storm and the rain thrashed down on us and the lightning wasn’t a distant and idle tickle of the heavens—it was all around us, to the left and right and burning up the TV tower with its throaty metal show.

When we were too wet and too cold to stand yelling any longer, we pulled ourselves inside and sat on the kitchen counter, watching the sparks fly out another window, because the storm was above us and this flat is an attic flat and the beauty of the storm is that it can be all above you and everywhere all at once. We watched the storm be everywhere and all about us all at once. When I tried to focus on the kitchen wallpaper—the red and orange poppies—my eyes were tricked by the lightning and it seemed to weft and warp in three dimensions. My skin was red and tingling, vibrating with the coldness of the thick fat drums of rain, but I wrapped a towel around me and sat curled atop the counter, hugging my knees. I wanted to sit until the storm passed, staring out this kitchen window, but I also wanted to write this moment before it slipped out and was lost, so here I am.

The rain has just slowed and I know the storm is heading somewhere else now; I know that people are sitting inside another flat looking out their windows and thinking about Zeus. I hope they are feeling majestic. I hope in another balcony, south of where we are sitting, there are people about to leap outside and stand in a monsoon created from electricity and sandpaper. I hope they raise their own glasses and whoop from a place deep in their throats, feeling that the universe is about to open up for them. I hope they understand that there is something better in life and the only way that you can ever get it is by stopping being afraid of getting wet or getting struck by lightning. The only way you can get it is by going out to yell.

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