Alex and I sat at the edge of Edgewater Hill, looking out over our Great Lake, watching a storm roll in. Tendrils of lightning knifed across the sky, behind clouds and clouds of the advancing front. We had been drinking bourbon on our front porch with our friend Kate. She came over in the night to pick vegetables from our community garden. She had pulled her car into the garden, which is against the rules. We yelled at her from our porch, clutching our snifters.
“You can’t park there!”
Engine still running, Kate came across the street to our house. She explained that she would use the headlights to pick out the best tomatillos with which to make salsa. We said that we were drinking Seven Roses Single Barrel and suggested Kate have a glass. Later, the three of us sat with our snifters and watched Kate’s car, still idling precariously between the sidewalk and entrance to the garden. Kate admitted to us that she had purchased a life insurance policy from our friend Charlie, who had given up on teaching English to sell life insurance. Alex and I, too, had purchased a life insurance policy from Charles. He was my best man, how could I say no? I recalled signing the papers that very morning, over a Mr. Nomad skillet from Nick’s Diner in Ohio City. Paid for by Charlie himself. Shortly thereafter, biking to work, I nearly collided with a jitney trying to make a quick left. Luckily I escaped unscathed but I could not help yelling “JESUS CHRIST” into the guy’s car as we passed. I almost made Alex a wealthy woman.
Low rumbles of thunder portended an oncoming splash. I ran in and grabbed a flashlight. Kate, Alex and I went across the street to pick produce from streetlight, flashlight and headlight. The occasional strobe of lightning made things interesting. The flashlight I grabbed proved ineffective for it required constant shaking to keep it powered -- a kinetic motion flashlight. I had stolen it from an old roommate, for I would never buy such a contraption. After much shaking of the light, we gathered a sufficient amount of produce. Kate thanked us for our help and she left, reversing her car back onto the street and leaving Alex and I in the darkness. We decided to take a walk down the street, towards the lake.
The wind began to pick up and the lightning behind the clouds and clouds put on a great show. I could not get Alex to look though, for she kept trying to take a picture with her phone. We strolled back to our house, bourbon working its way out of our system. We had no idea what was in store.
To be continued...