FLASH-Ka-BOOOOOOOOM! Behind my closed eyelids, my retinas are burned with white hot lightening and an almost simultaneous, guttural pound of heavenly fist against the proverbial court-table. My crew and I are simultaneously ripped from sleep; Leslie’s body is levitated off my bunk, tossing what used to be a secure nest of pillows onto a heap on the floor. Upon gaining full consciousness, I note my heart pounding in my chest and the ragged ache beneath my ribs, a stab of terror just two breaths ago.
“I think I just had a heart attack,” Leslie says. Her eyes are saucer wide. “Where’s Andrew?!” He’s not in his bunk. Leslie looks down the length of my interior from her perch in my bow bunk. Another FLASH-KRASH-BOOM highlights the dark outline of Andrew’s body standing in my companionway, looking out at the night. Leslie pokes her head out of the hatch and together we hear the bacon-sizzle sound of rain rushing from across the anchorage, about to hit us with a downpour. My halyards (ropes) and flags are flogging around in the wind, we swing on our anchor.
“KA-BOOOMM, BA-BOOM, BA-BOOM, ROOOOAAUOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM-BOOM.” This thunder lingers, rolling, rolling, rolling across a horizontal bank of clouds, echoing against our surrounding cliffs. I can feel the deep vibration in my belly, a second flash and more thunder layers over the top, it sounds like a bowling alley. Leslie shudders and descends the hatch to lock it and lay in the bed. There’s not much any of us can do. “Don’t touch anything metal,” I remind them; I hope we get lucky. We haven’t been anywhere in the world with lightning like this place. Maybe a long time ago when I was very new, I went through the Panama canal on my first big trip. I think there is lightning there, but I don’t remember it being like this.
“When I was a kid,” Leslie says to me, “I would I would sit with my Dad beneath my grandmother’s aluminum front-porch, listening to the splat of rain and watching lightning and thunder off in the distance. I loved the smell of the rain, the symphony of the storm, and hanging out with my Dad. We’re fine.”
“Hm…did you guys carry around a fifty foot aluminum pole sticking straight up into the sky?” Leslie ignores this rhetorical question and together we wait for the storm to pass. Sometimes, all you can do is wait.
As the rain arrives, the winds slow and Andrew climbs out on deck to (a) get soaked and (b) set up our rain catcher. Andrew catches water in our big “shade sail,” it runs in rivulets down the sail, into a hose led into my port-side water tank. It tickles.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” Leslie says.
“This is your fault. Just yesterday you were complaining we are spoiled and too soft.” I squeeze my throat and talk through my nose to do a high pitched impression of Leslie, to lighten the mood: “Gee, I think it’s been too long since we’ve had to stave off fear of death…”