I Shall Not Fear
We should have seen it coming. It was something that should have quickly captured our attention, but still we missed it. And now we sit upon the side of a hill, crouched beneath a slab of stone and watch as it comes ever nearer.
"Do you think that we shall come out of this?" I ask. "Will this prove to be too much?"
You do not turn, your gaze is still fixed firmly on the mass of churning clouds that is gathering so near at hand. Too near. How could we have been so blind, so stupid?
"I do not know," you say and slip your arm through the crook of my own. "Whatever happens, however, we shall face it together."
I watch the clouds as they turn from white to a dark blue. The flickering of lightning can already be seen even though the sun is still shining brightly.
It is odd. How the sun is still shining, warming our faces and glinting off of our hair, and yet the storm is so real and so large before us. The mighty boiling mass so intimidating that it seems as if it will swallow the world. How can the sun still shine, even with such fury and power so close?
Thunder rumbles across the valley and we huddle as deep as we can into the small alcove created by the stone overhang. It is not much, but it is the most shelter that the area has to offer us.
"The wind has a chill now," you say as it sweeps into our hiding place.
Icy fingers caress our faces and tug at our hair. I shiver without thought and feel you press just a little bit closer. It does not feel as though we can stand against this. It is too big.
"I am sorry that I did not heed the warnings," I say softly and you turn to look at me. "I should have kept my wits about me. For, if I did, this storm would not be bearing down upon us while we are forced to cower in this woefully inadequate hole."
I am surprised when I hear you chuckle softly.
"Do not blame yourself completely," you say. "I too missed the warnings. Also, I recall that it was my brilliant plan to come out here though we are both aware that storms frequent this area at this time of year."
I jump as a particularly loud clap of thunder echoes across the land and your smile only widens.
"I am glad you are here at my side to face this with me," I say as you squeeze my arm tighter.
"As am I," you say.
The lightning is brilliant now, spearing through the clouds with jagged lines and contradicting angles. Color is shot through the darking mass of cloud when the lightning takes on a frightening shade of lavender. We cringe away from the opening of our alcove at the sound of the increasing thunder, but we cannot tear our gaze away from the deadly spectacle.
It is not long before the sunlight disappears from our faces, a cold emptiness left behind in its absence. The growing storm blocking the warm rays and replacing it with a fine mist that is carried upon the wind. We both pull our cloaks tighter about our shoulders and lean in closer to each other.
"Do not fear," I hear you whisper in my ear just before the full fury of the storm breaks.
Torrential rain pours down around us, and the lightning flashes incessantly, causing the thunder to become a constant presence, never giving us a moment's peace.
We turn our faces from the driving rain and huddle together, each seeking solace in the other's shaking form. And then I find something strange beginning to happen.
Though we both shiver from the cold and the fear, I find that I am not as afraid as I had thought I would be. I had thought that our mutual terror would feed off of itself, both of us growing progressively worse as the storm went on since neither of us is able to hold back the strong surge of emotion. But, feeling you tremble against me, much as I am doing at this very moment, makes me realize that I am not alone in this. It is okay to be frightened. For you are feeling just as I am.
With you by my side the thunder does not echo as loudly, the lightning is not as bright. With your warmth against me, the rain does not feel as cold and the wind does not feel so strong. No longer do I shake in fear or cold. Instead I press my face nearer to your shoulder and hope that you can hear me as I finally reply to your earlier words of encouragement.
"So long as you are by my side, I shall not fear."
The storm is furious in its onset, but it is quick. We are pulled out of our tight embrace by the feel of warmth, a warmth that can only be caused by the return of the sun upon our skin. We turn our faces back out toward the horizon and see that the storm clouds have shattered. The rosy pinks and deep purple of a sunset is glowing beyond the remnants of angry blue-green thunderheads.
We crawl out of our hole and stretch gratefully in the rays of the dying sunset. Neither of us even thinking to turn and look at the fading storm at our backs. For no longer does it matter. It is behind us and the brilliant sunset before us is too beautiful to turn away from.
I stare at the blend of colors that paint the sky before me and I feel a smile begin to form. I know that we had both made a stupid mistake in failing to see the signs of danger, but we had remained together. We had not gone separate ways. Together we had braved the storm and survived. I do not even try to think what might have happened had we chosen to try and outrun the storm.
I feel you slip your hand into mine and intertwine your fingers with my own. I give your hand a squeeze and think of the incredible sunrise that will bloom not long from now, heralding the beginning of a new day, and yet another chance to feel the glorious warmth of your friendship.
So long as there is true friendship, even the darkest of storms shall not cause the heart to tremble in fear.
This story was inspired by a thunderstorm that recently passed over my house. I wrote this with the idea in mind that it could be taken in different ways. It is up to you to decide how it should be understood. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.