September 18, 2021

Thunder in the Temple

The cat could have won the Olympics high jump today. That's how high I think she jumped when she heard it. Maybe if she hadn't chosen to jump over my sleeping corpse, I could have slept through the blast.

She let out a cat yelp as she flew.

I doubt I would have slept through it anyway. It was pretty damn loud.

Thunder is one of my least favorite things. The Crash. The Boom. The Crackle. As if the world is breaking apart in one unfortunate place, and everything is being sucked into the earth as the ground splits in two. Then you hear car alarms, and ambulance sirens, and fire trucks. Thunder always creates ruckus, but it's usually followed by a really cool light show.

I used to think God was angry every time I heard thunder. That he or she or it or none of the above, was angry at one particular person in a certain area of town, and that thunder and lightning were brought there that day because God was no joke.

It rained the day my grandmother died. I thought God was crying.

It rained the day I was supposed to go to Safety Town - a total Long Island Place where they let you drive a fake car. You're about 9 years old so it's very exciting, only they don't let you play in Safety Town when it rains. I thought God knew I had done something bad, maybe God knew that I cheated on my math test or made fun of Claudine or Lisa or one of the other girls who had the unfortunate luck of being born with cooties, and now God was punishing me.

I don't think about God much anymore. Even when it rains. But then again, I've stopped questioning a lot of things I don't understand. Like thunder at 8AM on a Saturday morning. The first day I can sleep 'til as late as I can (or at least ‘til noon) without a care in the world.

I couldn't sleep, so I decided to write. Yesterday I obligatorily shuffled myself over to my parent's temple for a little over an hour. It was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I sat looking out at the rows of faces, the same ones I have seen year after year, except last year when I didn't make it to their house of worship, and these people were all doing the things that I too had thought I wanted until the age of 14. They were getting married, having babies, and buying homes on Long Island.

When I played house, I was always the daddy.

Sitting in between my mother and father towards the back of the synagogue is where I had my epiphany. Well, not really, an epiphany, more like a revelation.

I was a stranger.

In the most familiar place I could remember, I felt like I didn't belong anymore. Did I look like some alien lady from a far away mental hospital?

I realized that they all had what I didn't want. I wasn't jealous, I wasn't angry, I wasn't sad. I was relieved. Sure, I could get married have the .05 kids and buy a house somewhere, but it wouldn't be here. I had left my heart somewhere far away from the 495 way before this. Somewhere back in 1989, when my parents let me travel to Israel for a summer. While I cried my eyes out about wanting to be home, it wasn't home that I missed.

It was my friends and my family. And after my year of strutting around certain parts of the world, I know that no matter where I go, they love me unconditionally.

And now I understand just a little bit more. But thunder at 8AM on a Saturday morning - for that, I'm still waiting on an explanation.

Posted by jamye at September 18, 2021 11:09 AM