One of these things is not like the other: a marriage collapses – a global pandemic takes hold. That’s what I tried to tell myself as I nosed at my overturned life like a furtive lizard from the underside. I was reminded of a ‘childhood episode:’ that time I made lightning hit the school.
Once a year, the ‘phys-ed’ coach (Mr. Wassel) required students to parade like trained circus animals to display their presidentially-prescribed ‘fitness’ for their parents to see – it was known as ‘The Gym Show.’ This entailed gymnastic feats like the uneven bars, vaulting & the dreaded cavalcade of somersaults down a long, unforgiving vinyl mat. Unlike Boy George, I tumbled for nobody.
The night before, I turned sleeplessly, drenched in sweat & dread of this ludicrous event. As I turned I had a lucid vision: nature’s wrath would strike the elementary school, making any demeaning events scheduled that day impossible. While this dream played out, thunder clapped outside – the cosmos was listening.
The next morning, I heard over the radio: all classes were canceled that day. Lightning had hit the school & flooded the gym! Dumbstruck, I speculated: What was this otherworldly power I had unleashed? Could I train it to punish my enemies henceforth? In any case – no Gym Show!
As I sit today in the fifth month of lockdown, I can’t help but wonder if I unwittingly unleashed this fearsome power again earlier this year. After my wife left to take her own apartment and make a separate life, did my grief cause me to will it on others? If I couldn’t experience my normality, then no one would for the foreseeable future? If so – my bad.