Family: X Marks the Spot

Photo by j_arred (copied from Flickr)
Photo by j_arred (copied from Flickr)

My son Telep likes to lie on his back in the field behind our house during thunderstorms. He’s been doing it for years. At the first distant rumble he’ll dart out the back door with a goofy grin plastered on his face, as I yell after him to quit it and come back inside.

He says he likes how the purple and white cracks in the sky mix with the claps and booms. I tell him it’s dangerous. From his horizontal position on the grass, Telep says, so is everything.

I could tell him that doing your long division sets or listening to baseball on the radio isn’t dangerous, but I don’t. I watch him point upward and hear him say, did you see that one? That one looked like a scar on the sky’s belly.

Telep, it’s starting to rain, I’ll say from the door, but he’ll only spread himself out wider on the grass like a big X-marks-the-spot, his mouth open to catch the drops.

This time when I hear the thunder and Telep dashes out the back, I run after him. He plops down on the grass and spreads out, and so do I. Soon the sky looks like a purpling bruise and Telep is pointing and the drops are starting to fall and the first crack of lightning sends a shiver down my back.