I wake up this morning to what sounds like a bomb going off in the driveway. Instead it is thunder – close and incomprehensibly loud and repeating over and over again, like a war going on down the street. The panes of the windows over our bed rattle and the ground shakes. I pull The Boyf’s window the last couple of inches closed, afraid in my half-asleep state that he’s getting rained on. Then I think of the kittens and lean over, peeking under the bed. I find them huddled and terrified. “It’s okay,” I tell them for a few minutes, over and over, as the thunder marches through. Eventually they settle back to something like sleep, as do I.

When I awake for real, the storm is gone. By the time I’m out of the shower, the sun has come out.

I run errands all afternoon, trying and failing to get my car inspected (I am too impatient to wait much, and have too many important things to get done today in terms of Hall business). Then I get back home and settled in to read the latest Superman, write more zombie story and sit on the front porch waving at neighbors as they walk their dogs. No sooner has The Boyf arrived home from his own errands than the sky darkens and the wind starts to scream. “There’s a tornado warning until midnight,” The Boyf comments. The trees bend lower still, and I start to hear a real roar on the air, a mad howl like I have never heard except during Hurricane Fran, ten years ago. The wind is blowing so hard that the pine pollen – a thick, yellow blanket routinely ejected in spring that coats everything in sight for weeks – is shooting through the air in thick sheets, mapping and narrating the whipping and turbulent twists and turns of the air. The sky stops being only a little darker than before and as thick, black clouds roll over us the sun is blotted out. It turns to night in the span of seconds, like something out of a bad apocalyptic horror movie. I briefly ponder whether a tornado is coming down our street, whether that’s the roar I hear in the distance – I remember a lifetime of hearing survivors describe them on the news by saying they sounded “just like a train,” and it certainly sounds like a train is out there – and then I push that back down and refuse to let the sound of a train in the distance become a bad thing because I love that sound too much.

I do go inside, though, rather than sit on the front porch and watch the storm.

In the house, the kittens are wigged out again. I go upstairs to finish reading my email, and they hurriedly pile onto my desk and stick their faces between the slats of the blinds and watch the storm pass through from my little office’s 2nd-floor window. I hear NPR announce a severe weather warning, from where The Boyf is listening to it downstairs as he makes dinner. I fret again, then once more push it back down. I refuse to live like that, I say to myself. If he hears them say that tornados are bound for our county, OK, fine, I’ll get worried, but for now The Boyf is reporting them miles and counties from here.

Two minutes later, it’s all over. The storm is gone. The darkness outside is normal night. The wind has died down, the rain has stopped bouncing off the window in my office, the trees are upright. The kittens pull their heads out of the blinds and hop down off that shelf onto my main desk area and curl up and take a nap. Didi always wants to be touching my keyboard, so he settled in right next to it. Gogo, normally the brave explorer blazing a trail for Didi to follow, curls up behind Didi instead and tucks his head in and goes to sleep as well.

I take a few pictures of them in the moment, and then it’s back to life as usual: dinner, thoughts of whether I’ll win the office pool tonight, contemplating a structure for the next PAGP update, debating adding onto what I’ve written of the Vampire portion of the Zombie Stories already today. It’s over just that fast. I blog it to try to lock in the way the kittens look right now instead of just moving on to other concerns. I take a couple more pictures as they shift and stir. Every time I move my chair they wake up, so I know as soon as I finish this and stand up and go downstairs they will be back on their feet and running around like crazy.

I hear The Boyf getting plates out of the cabinet, though, so I know it’s almost time to eat. Time to go back to ordinary concerns again.