Monday, August 1, 2016



           My bike whizzed along the hot pavement, its tires crunching rocks and spitting them out behind me like tiny meteorites. The sun had finally submitted to the clouds that had rolled in, leaving me with a breeze that was as cool, calm, and collected as an Abercrombie & Fitch store’s atmosphere. Except thankfully, the outside smelled much less terrible and much more like dirt and honeysuckle. I prefer dirt and honeysuckle over the migraine-inducing stench of an A&F store any day.

            I biked on past the familiar trees, turn-offs, and corroding metals that littered the old highway. I had biked this road hundreds of times due to the low traffic and rolling slopes and remembered a variety of landmarks that described the locals: a butterfly banner that whipped in the wind and whispered, “welcome,” a house with a tin roof that shined copper and nickel, a rusty '48 Ford with one broken light, and a rocking horse that sat on the porch of a fenced-in home. 

            I heard a rumble of thunder. It was faint and far away, but I was arrogant and confident enough in my biking abilities that I figured I could out-bike any storm if necessary. Screw Tornado Chasers, I was the Tornado Runner Away-er. Let it be known that I did not realize I could not out-bike any storm if said storm was coming from the direction of my home. Naturally, I thought it was going to always be behind me. Naturally, I was an idiot.

            Suddenly, a vertical strike of lightning branched down from the sky and struck the ground in a nearby neighborhood. I totally flipped and made a verbal screech. A car coming from the opposite direction had its windshield wipers on, indicating rainfall. The lightning strike was followed by a boom that shook the ground. There were flashes of lightning that lit up the sky, flickering on and off like the lights in a room.

            As soon as the cars had passed, I made a U-turn and headed for the hills (aka my parents' home). I was about three miles from home at this point, but it was no use: the thunder continued to boom and crash like Zeus had started a rock band, intense lightning show included. Honestly, Zeus? This was not the time. 

            The lightning went sideways and flashed even quicker now; Zeus must have hired a hoard of Pikachus to help with the light show. I turned off at a nearby town and rolled my bike under an arched alcove. There was a fire station in my view. Under its awning, sitting casually in rocking chairs, there were a few men sipping some beers, laughing, and pointing at the skies. I checked my phone and my dad was already on his way to rescue me from the freaky-leaky skies. Just as he pulled up in his rumbling Diesel truck, the sky broke open and soaked us both.

            Cheers to Daddy Hval for rescuing me in the midst of an immense downpour... he's the real MVP.


Rachel said...

Dads are so good at rescues, aren't they? One time mine caught me when I fell off of our garage roof.
Also, why, why, why, does Abercrombie make their stores stink so much? How can people survive working there? It seems like it would be terrible for employee quality of life. Not that I've ever actually bought anything there because their clothes are tiny...and that's me saying that--person who is known to shop in the children's section of department stores...

Lily Fang said...

Ahh, this was such a cool piece Ali! I love how you can weave such an engrossing tale with rich adjectives and still make be perfectly cheeky--I couldn't help but laugh at the A&F reference, the line about Zeus choosing a poor time, and the image of a band of pikachus electrifying the sky. Your photos are also so beautiful in a subtly dark way--I adore the springs, the truck overgrown with grass, the misty rearview mirror.

I can only imagine how frightening and exciting this was! I was caught in a storm earlier in the summer--naturally, I thought I could bike it out too hehe. Luckily, I made it back to my car safely! So glad your dad was there to rescue you!

Sending much love as you prepare for school in Iowa! I'm sure you're rocking the few outfits you mentioned on insta that haven't been packed yet haha. Go get em, girl!

imperfect idealist