The lightning cascaded down from the clouds in sheets. The trees waved deliriously in the current of the wind. The air was heavy with the scent of a million roses, leaning seductively against their branches, longing to be picked, their gaudily painted faces almost concealing a legion of thorns. The thunder crashed like a symphony. The rain had not yet begun to fall.

"What are you thinking?" he asked. But there were no words in my mind, only music and images and spirals of light. There were daffodils and sunsets and orange peels and cherry pie; there were fireflies and starlight and summer afternoon shade intermingling in oceans of rain. It was a feeling only; it was serenity. He would not understand.

"I'm thinking of us," I said.

"How are you picturing me?" he asked. I closed my eyes. He was moving soundlessly through a meadow, far away from the park we were in now. The decadent roses were gone, replaced by wildflowers and tall grass. The sun was sinking into the horizon and it tossed his shadow far from him, making him tall. He was holding a flower in his hand, a little pink one, petals tiny and uncontrived. He was walking into the sunset. Rays lapped against the meadow like waves on a calm beach. He would not understand.

"You are shirtless. We are sitting together on my couch."

He twined his fingers with mine and drew me close to him. He ran his hand through my hair as he kissed me on the lips. We fell into the neatly-cut grass together. The storm broke. The rain fell. We made love as the drops pattered heavily on our bodies.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The lightning infused the sky with light like the colour flows out of a teabag placed in hot water. I sat in his lap as the branches of the trees floated on the still air. His arms were folded around my chest, his hands gently caressing me. The night was placid. We were quiet.

"What are you thinking?" he asked softly. My mind was drifting from one image to the next in slow, liquid motion. There were silver moonlit trees and purple valleys and deep blue skies. There were deer moving in and out of sight between trees; there were canoes drifting under cool shade, moving along slowly like dreamers. He would not understand.

"I am thinking of last night."

"Which part did you like best?" he asked. I closed my eyes. We were laying in the bed again, the posters on the wall closing us in, his arms wrapped around me securely as I tried not to cry. I rested my head on his shoulder. I wondered what was missing that made me so sad. He pulled my shirt off and unclasped my bra. I chased the tears away. We made love as the songs of night birds wandered in and out through the open window.

Now the tears were gone, and I no longer questioned their cause. Now I relaxed as the thunder rolled softly in the distance, enjoying the warmth of his skin and the gentle touch of his fingers. I was floating in the ocean of his eyes.

"I liked falling asleep next to you," I said. He smiled. We sat in the grass together and said no more until morning started to seep out from under the trees. The storm did not break. The thunder faded and the lightning disappeared. We stood up and walked in opposite ways along the path.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The lightning darted out of the dark skies like a hypodermic needle, injecting me, stabbing me with its venom. Was this a lethal dose? The trees writhed in the wind, tossed restlessly to and fro above our heads in a fevered rhythm. The leaves were starting to turn yellow. A few of them had already fallen. We sat next to each other on the bench.

"You look nice in that dress," he said.

"Thank you," I replied. We lapsed back into silence. I moved closer to him on the bench. He slid his arm around my shoulder.

He searched for something to say. "Where did you buy it?" he asked finally.

"Don't remember," I replied.

He told me a joke. I did not listen. I tried to laugh. The tears were back, hiding behind my eyelids, waiting for my concentration to fail so they could fly out in a dark torrent of obliteration. I squeezed my eyes tightly shut. I would not let them escape. I rested my head against his chest. We sat like that for a long time, neither of us speaking. The wind was cold. We shivered as it twisted around us. The air was thick with static and humidity.

I closed my eyes. I pictured jagged rocks slashing against the sky. I watched waves crash against shores, I saw boats tossed wildly on an unforgiving sea. The sun was a red eye; the cries of the hawks above were scornful. All of the wildflowers had been ripped away from the meadow in the cruel wind. The sky was painted pink and red and the trees cast only coldness on the ground and provided no sanctuary.

He did not ask me what I was thinking. But that was alright; he would not have understood.

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