“Summer Thunder” by Jill Candles (Devon Fick)
Ken came to our little street in late June, the first night, the first night of the summer thunder. It rattled my windows and, later, it rattled my bed frame as though portending what would happen later in that summer, that summer of the summer thunder.
The next morning, he was standing on the Stevensons’ lawn next door, shirtless. The Stevensons had gone away for the entire summer, that summer of thunder. “Hi,” he said. “I’m here to do some raking.” I nodded and felt a palpable heat rise up from the sidewalk. It was the heat of summer, true, that summer of thunder, but it was another kind of heat that formed a bridge between Ken and I, though we didn’t yet know it.
I went to my summer job at the library. It was a morning of folding gigantic newspapers over gigantic rulers. It was tedious. I stared outside at the cascading summer sun. Would it thunder today? Would it?
My reverie was broken by the appearance of Ken in the library vestibule. He was still shirtless. I took notice now of his chiseled features, his glistening pectorals, his clean and pressed tan slacks. Old Miss Higgins, the head librarian approached him.
“Yes, I’m looking for a gigantic newspaper on a gigantic ruler,” he said. He smiled, showing off two rows of perfect pearly whites. “I would like to have a look at the weather report,” he added, puffing out his strong, clean chest. “The sky…it looks as though…well, I mean, I wonder if it might thunder tonight.”
And he looked right at me. For what seemed like a luscious eternity our eyes locked. And then I heard that inner voice.
You’ve urinated in your panty hose again, Jill. Better make a beeline for the ladies room.
I looked down. There was the initial spot on the dusty wood floor. I hightailed it out of there.
Later, I cut through back yards and alleys, hoping I wouldn’t see him. Distantly, I could hear thunder. Summer thunder. I passed the open lot where a gigantic pumpkin fire had been raging for two years. There was a strange man standing there with a handmade sign that read “SEX REVOLUTION”. I hurried. The thunder came heavier now. The summer thunder.
There was the gate. Mom was out there with a huge basket of wet white clothing. She heard the thunder. But to her, the thunder was merely a warning having to do with laundry, not love. It came again, it was closer. I began crying.
My hand was on the gate now. And then, another hand was over it. A strong hand.
It was Ken’s.
He was shirtless but had changed into a pair of pressed green slacks. “Don’t be scared of the summer thunder,” he said. Then, he gurgled something incoherent. The thunder was right above us. We kissed passionately. And there was the voice.
You’ve urinated in your panty hose AGAIN, Jill! You must find an excuse to break away.
But I didn’t. And Ken didn’t seem to mind.