2015-2016, Short Story


Featured in the 2015 Fall Issue of Rambunctious

By Catherine Keane, ’16

Lightning: the bright flash that partners with thunder, when the clouds turn grey and shadows are only a game our eyes play on us. Some would say high school was gone in a lightning flash; there for only a second, gone before we could even blink. It’s the “Mississippi’s” counted with my dad on the porch before the lightning makes its debut. Thunder and lightning storms are something I have always looked forward to. The way thunder and lightning remain in sync with each other all through the night and connect feelings and memories is the thing I admire the most about nature. But if I were to choose my favorite experience with lightning, it would be the time it surged through my body to create a feeling I had not yet experienced.

Lightning pierced my body the first time I stepped onto the track in a pair of old, beat up trainers. The electrifying feeling was the most foreign sensation I had ever felt. It set a fire inside of me. I heard an aggressive, booming voice that resembled thunder all too well. So, as is tradition, the counting began.

One Mississippi . . . two Mississippi . . . three Mississippi.

Lightning had struck.

The track became the sky and I found myself running. I stopped with sharp breaths to notice the high school coach looking at me the way I looked at the storms on the porch with my dad. He shouted and out came the thunder that sent me running in the first place. I was scared for no longer than a second. I had forgotten he was thunder and I was lightning and thunder and lightning are a team. He called me over only to ask my name, but somehow I knew a connection had sparked. That feeling of being noticed had me hooked on running ever since.

The fascination of storms captivates people all over the world, just as the storm of running captivates me. The energy and life the starting line brings me is the same energy and life that happens in the sky when a storm is brewing and finally lights up. My experience with running has taught me one key thing: ability. Being able to run with the winds and endure the different terrains each course or track brings is something I am so proud to have been a part of in the past 5 years. Running isn’t the agony it is built up to be. Yes, some days I don’t feel my legs and I tell myself that I am absolutely crazy for doing this sport. But the energy I feel when it’s just me and seven other girls on the starting line makes me feel like I am lightning. I can do anything with that energy that starts at my feet and makes its way up my legs to my heart.

Lightning has struck. I have become part of the storm that has yet to end. The storm has only gotten stronger, with the flashes of lightning brighter than ever before. Running is much more than moving my legs faster than a walk. Running is the feeling I get when I’m drowning in the darkness of my bedroom and a flash illuminates the sky through the window. Running is the feeling I get when the track is pillows of clouds and I am the light phenomenon that flashes by. Three “Mississippi’s” is all it takes for the lightning to come, but also happens to be the time it takes the official to say, “Runners, to your mark, set, go.”