Lunch time at Robbie's house
Thunder grumbled overhead and rattled the windows where six-year-old Robbie sat eating his sandwich. He rose from his chair and peeked under the blind in the hopes of seeing a bright flash of lightening.
“Robbie,” his mother called from the stove where she was stirring the stew for their supper, “get away from there! Haven’t I told you how dangerous storms are?”
“Aw Mom, it’s just a lot a noise an light,” Robbie said dropping the shade and returning to his seat. “Andy gets ta watch from his bedroom winda an Drake says they sit on tha porch an everythin.”
The storm was drawing him....
“Robbie, you know that I love you and want the very best for you. I cannot allow you to endanger yourself by standing in a window during a storm. Now finish your lunch.”
“But Mom,” Robbie tried to put as much sorrow in that statement as possible.
“No buts, Robbie,” his mother said waving the wooden spoon at him.
Robbie settled back into his chair and stuffed his sandwich into his mouth so he could tell his mother that he was done. He choked a bit and tried to hide it, but she heard and came over to rap him on the back several times. Freed, the sandwich slid down his throat.
“Tanks, Mom,” he said grabbing his cup of milk.
“Don’t take such big bites,” his mother said returning to the stew.
“Sorry,” Robbie said dumping the empty cup into the sink. “Can I go watch TV?”
“I guess so,” his mother said absently as she reached for the bowl of cut potatoes. “Stick to the kids channels, you hear?” she added just as he reached the door to the living room.
“Yup, I know,” he called back through the swinging door.
He wanted to sneak a peek, but his brothers would tell on him.
He turned to make sure his mother wasn’t following him and then he went into the living room intending to go to the picture window and watch the storm. As he stepped in front of the TV his four-year-old twin brothers, Bill and Ben, hollered at him to get out of their way. They had eaten earlier while he was still at school. He knew better than to watch the storm in their presence because they would tell his mother. He was about to race upstairs to his bedroom window when a loud ba-boom-boom ripped through the house and caused him to jump. He looked at his brothers who had jumped to their feet and were heading towards him.
“W..w..wwhat was t.t.t.that?” Bill asked grabbing Robbie with his little hands.
“Don know,” he said absently wrapping his arm protectively around his brother and motioning for Ben to join them. “Mom,” he called, “Mom, did ya hear that?”
There was silence in the kitchen and for a moment Robbie was scared. Then the door swung open and his mother stepped through and smiled.
“It’s O.K. boys,” his mother said reaching for them, “it’s just a bad storm, that’s all. Come with me, we’ll go into the basement where it’s safe just in case.” She grabbed a twin in each arm and looked at Robbie. “Come on, Robbie,” she said, “it’ll be safer there.”
“But I want to see it,” Robbie said turning towards the window just as another flash of lightening lit the dark sky. “Why can’t I stay and watch?”
“Come on, Robbie,” his mother said sternly, “or I’ll tell your father you didn’t listen to me.”
“Oh, alright,” Robbie said taking a hesitant step towards his mother.
Just then another loud ba-boom rattled the window behind him and he raced to the glass and peered out. Lightening filled the sky in bright yellow-white streaks that groped through the darkness like a large glowing hand. The hand touched a tree and another ba-boom filled the air as pieces of bark exploded from the tree.
The storm was loud and exciting...
“Wow!” Robbie said excitedly. “Did you see that, Mom?”
“No, Robbie come away from there!” his mother shouted as she tried to pull the twins through the kitchen door. “Come here, Robbie, come where it’s safe.”
Robbie couldn’t pull his eyes from the window where another bright streak lit the sky as thunder angrily rumbled overhead. He climbed up on the windowsill to get a better look but the frame of the glass seemed to block his view. All he could see were black clouds that twisted and raced as if at war with each other.. Robbie jumped off of the sill and raced to the front door. He grabbed the handle and twisted. The door squeaked a protest as it opened on its hinges and Robbie gasped as another streak lit the sky.
“Wooooooow,” Robbie sighed stepping further into the storm.
Rain pelted him in the face and chest, but Robbie didn’t care. He stepped closer to the edge of the driveway with his face glued to the sky so he wouldn’t miss a single flash. Thunder growled again, as if challenging the lightening which answered with flashes that ripped through the darkness and exploded on the ground nearby. Robbie felt the ground heave and groan from the impact and he jumped with excitement.
“Mom!” he shouted at the house. “Ya gotta come see
Robbie's mother was frightened for Robbie's safety......
Robbie’s mother did not come to see the bright lights. She had dragged her twins into the basement where she felt they would be safest and softly cried because Robbie hadn’t followed her instructions to follow her. She didn’t dare leave the two frightened boys alone to go collect Robbie though she feared for his safety. She bit her nails and prayed that Robbie would be alright. Somehow, though she hadn’t actually seen him do it, she knew he had opened the door and gone out into the storm.
“Wow,” Robbie said again stepping into the street following the streaks of light as they moved across the sky. “Wow, show me more,” he said with his head looking straight up.
A car came zipping around the corner just as another flash of light dazzled the sky and blinded the driver. The car swerved and missed Robbie by inches hitting a nearby rock wall instead. Robbie glanced at the car and shook his head sadly. Then the thunder growled and his attention was diverted.
The storm kept calling to him.
The lights danced across the night sky drawing Robbie further and further from his home. He didn’t pay attention to the distance as he marched across manicured lawns and climbed metal fences to follow the lights. Thunder growled again and again as if encouraging him to move faster. He was drenched, tired, and exhausted by the time he reached the outskirts of town but barely noticed. The storm had crossed the large river and moved off across a field of corn. Robbie watched sadly as the storm moved further from his sight. Just as he was turning to go home, a loud ba-boom echoed across the field. Robbie smiled at the loud good-bye.
A car came around the corner near where Robbie stood and the head-lights blinded him. He stepped back to the shoulder to get out of the cars way, but the car stopped right in front of him
A sad reason is given...
“Robbie!” his father shouted jumping out of the car and grabbing him in a bear hug. “What are you doing way out here?”
“Watching the storm,” Robbie said, “it was credible, dad. The thunder talked to me and the lightening kept giving me show afta show. It was great!”
Robbie’s father silently took off his jacket and wrapped Robbie in it. Then he set Robbie in the back seat and carefully strapped him in. When he had climbed into the front seat and started off towards his house, Robbie spoke.
“Dad?” he asked.
“Why is Mom fraid of the storms?”
“Well, Robbie, you see, your mother was a twin, just like Bill and Ben.”
“She was?” Robbie said all excited. “How cum I ain’t met her?”
“Well, because a long time ago, before you were born, your mother and her twin sister were out chasing a storm, just like you were doing.”
“Really?” Robbie asked breathlessly. “Then why’s mom scared?”
“Because they were struck by the bright lights, Robbie, and your mother’s sister was lifted off the ground and fell into the river. She didn’t come back up and no one could find her.”
“Oh,” Robbie said. “I’ll find her dad, you wait. I know where the lights went and I’ll go there and find mom’s sister. Then she won’t be fraid of the lights and growling no more.”
Robbie’s dad sighed. It would be very hard to get this imaginative young boy who loved storms to understand why his mother was so afraid of the lightening that had taken her sister away
Do not seek safety under trees during lightening storms. Trees are more likely to get struck because they are a direct connection to the ground.
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© 2011 Cheryl Simonds
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