I tip my head back against the cold surface of the roof I'm laying on so that I can see who just spoke. Realizing it's my sister, I roll my eyes and return my gaze back what I'd been looking at before. "Shut up," I mutter back.
"Why are you still out here?" she asks, still bent on interrupting me.
"Because," I say, like it's a sufficient answer. I turn my head and look to the figure seated behind the steering wheel. "Besides, Dad's still out here."
She scoffs at me. "Dad's crazy, too." We hear a short chuckle behind us, acknowledging her comment.
"Whatever," she says, turning around. "I just came out 'cause Mom said I had to check on you. I'm going back inside." I don't respond, instead I go back to what I was doing before I was interrupted.
Dad, who had been outside on the upper deck driving the boat, called us all outside earlier to come see something. We rushed upstairs to find that the thunderstorm had gotten close enough that the lightning strikes were finally visible. My sister and Mom, uneasy about the storm, both went back downstairs while I settled down onto the roof to watch the show.
I'm only in a T-shirt and shorts –the temperature is still in the high-seventies, even at this time of night– and can feel the light raindrops fall on the sunburnt skin of my arms, legs, and face. The droplets are no cooler than the air; I marvel at my first experience in warm rain.
If there's one thing I can always count on at the lake, it's the stars. I couldn't even give you an estimate of how many you could see, there were that many. Some of them seemed like they had ambitions of one day growing as big and bright as the moon, while others were so small and faint and packed together that whole sections of the sky seemed to glow a bluish-gray.
Tonight the dark clouds of the storm covered large sections of the stars, resulting in the illumination of the clouds so bright that you thought they were about to combust. They never did, but still, you waited.
Nearly every minute promised a shooting star, and if you waited long enough you would see one bright enough that it could be confused with the lightning. Sometimes they would come so quickly in succession that there wasn't enough time to make wishes after each one.
The lightning itself was unrelenting, sending multiple strikes crashing down into the surrounding mountainside every few minutes. With every strike, whole sections of the lake would light up, and then quickly fade back into darkness. And with every strike, I would count, and then stop when I heard the thunder echo past us. That's how I knew exactly how far away each one was. It became a routine, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7– BOOM, and I soon heard myself counting after each strike without really paying attention to the numbers.
My Dad called them five-minute thunderstorms, because of their tendency to pass through the lake in about five minutes. This one would prove to be a little longer than it's namesake –if only by an hour or so.
I lay there for a long time, feeling the warm rain settle on my skin, watching the stars and lightning fight for dominance in the sky, listening as the thunder gently rattled the boat. It was only when the lightning strikes had ceased their crashing, most of the clouds had cleared, and the rain had stopped falling when my dad spoke.
"That lasted longer than usual," he said.
"Ready to go inside?" he asked.
I shrugged. "Sure."