Ryan and I went out to eat last night at our local wings bar. As we made our way home, we saw a huge, gray mass in the sky hovering near our house. Flashes of lightning lit up the sky as we pulled up into the driveway. The wind picked up when we got into the house and I feared one of the pine trees in the backyard would surely topple over. Thunder shook the house; I thought Ryan was hitting the wall from behind the closet door. It felt was that close. As I put some french fries in the oven for everyone to eat with the hamburgers I made the night before, the lights flickered for a split second. But I wasn’t worried because this is very normal and very expected during a storm.
A few minutes later, however, the entire house powered down and I stood for a moment waiting for everything to turn back on. I made my way to the cupboard above the stove and took out a box of matches and several tea lights. I placed several around the kitchen and some in the master bedroom where we were all congregated. We were all on our phones, but for some reason my connection was spotty. I decided to watch a movie on my phone, confident that I could get at least halfway through on the 52% battery life I currently had.
“You should turn off your phone just in case the power doesn’t turn back on. You’ll need it as an alarm tomorrow morning,” Ryan said.
Reluctantly, I turned off my phone and plugged in my charger anyway. Just in case. “Arrgh! What did people do back in the 1960s and whatnot?!” I look around at everyone’s faces lit up by the their 4G glow mocking me as I sat in my own corner of darkness. I stood up and felt around for my sports bra. I made my way to the garage in just panties and a sports bra, stumbling over scooters, shoes, and a 12-pack of bottled water. I took three tea lights and set one next to me as I climbed onto my elliptical machine. I do 30 minutes in the evenings, but tonight was going to be a challenge. I had no way to monitor my speed and for how long I’ve been exercising. Ryan came in and shone the flashlight over the monitor so I could fix my settings. “I’ll be back to check on you in a bit.”
So I began moving my arms and legs. My mind started to feed on itself. “Is that a light out there? Or is that lightning? Is someone out there with a flashlight? Are they going to break in and kill us like in ‘The Strangers’ with Liv Tyler? How fast can I get in the house, grab my phone so I can call 911, gather my kids into Ryan’s closet while he gets the gun loaded? It’s the light again! That’s not lightning! What if my legs are too wobbly to make it out of the garage? What if I trip over the bottle water? There’s the light again! Can they hear my elliptical machine from out there? Should I tell Ryan? I don’t want to die without pants on! There goes the light ag–WHO THE FUCK IS OUT THERE?!?!”
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