Page 62 - WTP Vol. IX #7
P. 62

The Lookout (continued from page 50)
Holt watched in disbelief as Star stepped out of her
jeans. “What are you doing?”
“I’ve always wanted to stand naked in a hail storm. I’m going outside.” Star dropped her flannel shirt in the pile with her pants and was ready to take off her underwear and bra, when she turned to Holt. “I don’t want you leering at me.”
“I’m not leering at you—you’re getting undressed right in front of me so it’s pretty hard to avoid seeing you.”
“Looking is one thing, leering is another.”
“Okay, I promise not to leer, though I wasn’t doing it.”
“Good.” Star took off the rest of her clothes and pranced to the door.
Holt looked at her naked body, but tried not to be too obvious. She was thin and white where the sun hadn’t tanned her pale skin, and knew she was used to doing physical labor by the set of the muscles.
Star leaned on the catwalk handrail and hail bounced off her head, hands, and uplifted arms. With her head tilted skyward she danced, soaking up everything.
Holt watched, bemused and bewildered by the spon- taneity and lack of modesty, but felt the hair on his arms start to stand up. The hair on the back of his neck tugged his skin. He touched his head and his hair was standing up too. The ring on his finger started making a weird buzzing sound. In two quick steps he was at the door. He grabbed Star, yanking her inside.
“What are you doing?! She shrieked.
Holt pushed her towards a low stool with glass insu- lated feet on it and yelled, “Stand on this!” He posi- tioned them on it, arms wrapped around her to keep them stable on a stool made to fit one person. A few seconds afterward, a flash as bright as burning phos- phorous, filled the lookout with a blazing whiteness that lit up every fiber in their bodies. Instantly, a blast of thunder concussed them, the shock tipped them off, and they fell to the floor in a jumble. They both screamed when the lightning hit but it was drowned out by the thunder. On the floor they gasped like two people who were shoved underwater and suddenly emerged. Star was draped on top of Holt, both real- izing how lucky they were to be alive. They lay still until Star burst out laughing.
“Oh man, that was amazing.” She couldn’t stop laugh- ing.
Holt started laughing too until his diaphragm hurt. They were exhausted although it was only seconds that had transpired, warped in time by the force of the storm’s intensity.
“More like amazingly stupid. I should have known better.” Holt felt soreness seeping into his back where he landed on it.
“But you were alive, totally alive when it happened.” She looked at Holt for a few seconds. “That thread between life and death is so thin. And we were right there. Don’t you see?”
“I like the alive part, best. I don’t want to find out if lightning will strike twice here.” It didn’t make sense that a person needed to almost die to feel alive. He had survived his mom passing away, and he didn’t want to be any closer to death.
Star pushed herself up with a hand on Holt’s chest. “I’m getting cold.” She stood up and walked to the pile of clothes and got dressed, not acknowledg-
ing her nakedness in front of Holt. He watched and realized he was not leering, he was observing this interesting creature who had landed like some kind of extraterrestrial. One he didn’t understand though they were speaking the same language. A feeling of protectiveness came over him, like Star was a sister getting dressed, and he looked away as the waning storm moved towards the next range.
Over the next three days, Holt noticed Star’s energy dissipate as if the lightning had sapped her energy. She appeared sullen and frustrated, at one point slamming a book closed after reading a disquieting passage. Holt had seen this languor before, but never so pronounced or prolonged.
“Can I get you some tea?” Holt asked. “Sure,” was Star’s only response.
Her effervescence was gone and it was hard to un- derstand Star’s pendulum swings so Holt figured he’d wait until her spark returned, and tried to give her more space. He painted the outhouse, rigged a new clothesline, and shored-up the leaky dam where they got their drinking water.
On the fourth day since the storm, morning sun slanted into the lookout as Holt lay in bed. He felt uneasy although there was no palpable reason on such a nice morning. He half sat up in his bed and saw Star was gone, but that was not unusual given her crepuscular wanderings. The sense that some-

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