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lightning and lightning bugs!

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
-- Mark Twain

I forgot there were lightning bugs! There aren't any in Seattle and I think I really mostly forgot they even existed. When I walked out my Mom's door to walk down to her local tavern to have a heart-to-heart, I was shocked when I first saw that florescent flash in the air that I knew so well as a boy.

I watched, captured, smeared on the pavement, admired, smacked out of the air, cupped in my hand a million of those strange bugs. I took them for granted. I walked into a field where the whole world flashed with a million florescent bulbs, and never realized that someday I would move to a place where a lightning bug would never be seen.

Small comforts like this are good. I'm at my Mom's house in Rockford. Everything is okay and I'm lonely but it's okay. I've checked all my Email, and got back in contact with clients and made some really badass pasta sauce with my mom, and fresh garden garlic from the Roseanne's garden...I think the most potent symbol of heartbreak for me.

We got here so early that my mom didn't even get a chance to finish cleaning the house. We were so mad to get out of dodge, Jess and I, that we drove every day for over 12 hours a day, stopping only to cook simple meals, pee, and briefly pass out in the back of her truck at swelteringly humid truckstops.

We had good music though. I burned some kickass road mixes onto CD's. So many obstacles arose...Jess's truck broke down, then got broken into, everything seemed to go wrong. But finally we decided we were gonna get in that truck on a prayer and do what we needed to prove our willingness to the universe that we were going cross Montana if we had to walk. Our moms were waiting.

It took forever to get out of Washington state, but once we were through it, we drove and drove. We listened to the new Modest Mouse, the new Edie Brickell, the new Prince, and the new Air, plus a bunch of road mixes designed to make us cry.

It was so hot and humid, all the way through Washington, Idaho, most of Montana, until we begged for rain. We saw a huge raincloud finally and we drove straight into the heart of it. We got rain. Rain so hard it seemed like there was more water than Air. We could hardly see and I was scared to stop or pull off the road. All I could do was watch the yellow line that was the only thing I could see and keep driving slowly, hoping we hadn't made a big mistake. But eventually the rain started to slow down and I could see again.

We took turns nodding off in the car. We listened to a lot of music. Up in the distance, somewhere in South Dakota, we saw a tiny rain cloud with constant non-stop heat lightning flashing around like a sci-fi atomic brain movie.

I nodded off, and when I came to, I looked up and said, "Holy shit." The cloud was right in front of us, this mess of lightning and sunset sky. Jess smiled at me, sadly. I looked at the cloud for an hour as it approached and finally encompassed us, like a tunnel of lightning.

Jess looked over at me and said, "This has been so nice. I imagined us talking more, though."

"Is there something you wanted to talk about? Like what?"

"Oh, I don't know...life...all kinds of different things."

And then the floodgates broke, and we talked for hours. About all kinds of pent up feelings: sadness, regret, peace, hope, confidence, love and fear. We drove and talked until South Dakota was no more. And then at the second rest stop in Michigan Missouri Minnesota we slept really well, and knew we only had one more night of each other's company. That we had to figure out some way to bring what we had talked about into our actual lives. And we both knew we were really scared.

It was a little anti-climactic to finally show up, driving through Madison and finally Rockford. Just another town, not the holy grail after all.

Thank god for my kind momma and her good vibes. Good luck, Jess. I know you'll do just what you need to do. I guess me too.

Comments

Yeah, I miss lightening bugs too.

Someday I want to show Sam how miraculous they are.

He'd flip.

Minnesota

Seriously, you should smuggle colonies of lightning bugs back to the Pacific Northwest and get them mass breeding.
"Bio-diversity" and all that ;)