Tammy’s words rolled in my head as I faced my first solo Friday in Florida. I said goodnight to my workmates, her voice chanting, “You can’t stay home. You have to go out. Even if you don’t feel like it! Sit at a bar solo, don’t look at your phone, talk to people, make friends!!!”
So, I made a plan with myself. I was going out.
“Self, we’re stopping by the grocery store, unloading at the apartment, then walking to a bar and having drinks and dinner with who knows who!”
I was psyched. (Let me not lie, I was not psyched. But, I was ready.)
Except . . .weather.
On my way to Publix I talked to one of my most favs – who hates storms as much as I do. “Byg, the sky is black on the horizon. No, no . . . black BLACK, like for real, jet black. Like, I’ll call you if/when I get home.”
Commence with a lightening round of errands. Lightening errands is the only kind of lightening I can tolerate because, THANKS TO DOROTHY, I have an intense aversion of storms.
As promised, I did a storm-survival check-in when I returned home. “OMG, the sky just opened up.”
This is before I knew that my cellular service sucks inside my apartment . . . before I knew about the intensity and severity of Florida weather . . . before the storm of the century.
“Girl, I’m trying to like it, but . . . and WHY are the palm trees sideways?!?!?”
In North Carolina, we have some intense storms, but they come with plenty of warning so you can locate your thunder buddy and be okay!
So, Byg, in true bestie fashion held the phone singing, “Fuck you, Thunder, you can suck my dick.”
I started mentally packing my shit to go back home. “Okay . . . the shoe suitcase, the swimwear box, folding clothes go in space bags, hanging clothes on hangers and . . . OH DEAR LORT, WHAT?!?!?”
Hail the size of golf balls POUNDED the roof of my tiny cottage and rolled in the street.
Silence on the phone.
“Hello? Hellooooooooooooo? Hello??????”
Cell signal, gone.
Fuck me runnin’.
Tomorrow, I’mma pack my shit and go home. This is straight up bullshit!!! Oh HAIL NAW.”
And then, time happened.
As quickly as the black sky loomed, the clouds moved out and dazzling sun reappeared.
I walked to the mailbox, umbrella at the ready, and chatted with the neighbors who reassured me that the magnitude of the storm was unusual.
The power came back quickly, too. I cranked the AC on and called Bygie, “It finally passed, the power is back on, I think everything is okay.”
“Thank God, I was so worried you weren’t okay!!!”
“No, no . . . I’m okay. It seems that apocalypse DOESN’T REALLY last all day.”
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Since then, we’ve had several bad storms. And I can’t say that I’m friends with thunder and lightning yet. But, I am learning to breathe into the storm’s fury and let it pass, because the sun always shines again.