Thunderstorm Waltz

The only time I saw her, she was dancing in a thunderstorm.

It was pouring when I walked out of my biology lab late one warm autumn evening, and I had no umbrella, so I sighed and trudged silently through the storm. I had to pass through the campus green to get to my dorm and hadn't seen anyone since leaving the classroom because I had stayed late to speak with the professor.

With a flash of lightning, I saw her in the middle of the green. Short red hair sticking to her face and spiking as she twirled her lithe figure around and around, her eyes closed and her body swaying to some music in her head. Lifting her arms as if in supplication to the thunder crashing above her, she laughed, raindrops gliding across lips as red as her hair and cheeks as pale as the moon. Her bare feet spun through the sodden grass like fairie toes in light springtime dew.

She was magnificent.

A smile broad on her face, she stopped spinning and stared at me, bright blue eyes glinting silver with the lightning. Suddenly still, she held her hand out to me.

My bookbag slid off my shoulder as I walked to her.

Taking her warm hand in mine, she gently brought me closer and slowed her frenetic spinning to a calmer twirling, leading my leaden feet in the moves. Clumsily, I tried to follow, fumbling my steps as a child clunks keys on an ancient piano.

Sighing melodramatically, she stopped and kneeling, unlacing my sneakers. I toed them and my socks off, which she flung back towards my bag.

I laughed, and she grabbed my hand once more.

More relaxed, my grace appeared when we moved again. Together, we curled around, a ribbon with two bright sides spinning in the storm. There were no cares or complaints as we looked completely ridiculous dancing in the rain, soaking ourselves as we grasped each other. Faster and faster, we spun, hands and feet in unison, palms sliding over water-slick skin.

We were the storm as it encompassed our entire beings.

Eventually, as the thunder rolled away and the lightning faded, the rain began to slow to a drizzle as we slowed to a reluctant halt.

She looked me in the eyes, kissed my cheek, and left.

I stood there, watching her, before I collected my belongings and walked back to my dorm in my bare feet.

Some people are so full of life that they may burst if it's not expelled. They radiate exhilaration and joy, sometimes in the strangest circumstances. They do not know how to be passive or serene, only how to dance and laugh.

They only know how to be alive.

That night, she shot herself.