Journals The Tattoo

Spring lightning on the Pioneer Trails

Zach Brokenrope in Aurora, Nebraska. (YJ)

Aurora, Nebraska, UNITED STATES — “What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing … just exercising,” Sarah says into the phone through deep breaths.
“Oh…” I answer. Sarah hates giving up exercising.
“Why? What are you doing?”
“I was just thinking about going out to Pioneer Trails,” I say. “I was hoping you’d come with me.”
“I’ll be there in like, five minutes,” I say and close my phone. It’s warm outside and I roll down my window and turn up the radio. The warm spring air blows through my hair and feels good on my face. Pioneer Trails is a park about 15 miles outside of the city and home to a million summer parties and fall stargazes.
A week ago there was upwards of 18 inches of snow on the ground, which closed school for two days (that happened to lead directly into our spring break), but the weather has gradually warmed and the snow is almost all gone.
I pull into Sarah’s driveway and she jumps into the passenger seat.
“We’re going to Pioneer Trails, right?” she asks, and zips her jacket. I guess it’s still cold for her.
“Yup,” I say. As we pull onto the road leading out of town, my phone rings. “Hello?” I ask.
“Hey, whatcha doin?” asks Nicole on the other end.
“Just going out to Pioneer Trails; wanna come?” I ask, and start heading towards her house.
“Of course,” she says.
Fifteen minutes later my car is parked and all three of us are leaning against it, looking at the sky.
“Aren’t there any, like, benches to sit on?” Sarah asks.
“Yeah … but they’re way, way out there and it’s really creepy at night,” Nicole says.
“You don’t do this very often, do you?” I say to Sarah.
“Well, we can climb in my trunk if you want,” I offer.
“That’ll do,” Nicole says.
I pop my trunk open and we climb inside.
“This feels nice,” Sarah says.
“That’s because you have short legs,” I reply as I pull mine up to my chin.
“As do I,” Nicole says and laughs.
In the distance a flash of lightning broadens across the sky.
“I love lightning,” I say. “I hate the winter; it’s the worst possible season.”
“I know what you mean,” Sarah says and sighs.
“It’s so depressing, you know; everything you love just shrivels up and dies. I feel so trapped in. I dunno, maybe it’s just not the season. Maybe it’s everything; this town, these people… It seems so much sometimes.”
Nicole looks at me and smiles.
“I know.”
She puts her head on my shoulder and as she does, it starts to rain.
It’s the kind of rain that you only feel on the first storm of spring, where it feels new and refreshing, unthreatening and warm – like an old friend you’ve forgotten you’ve had.
And I think that everything is going to be all right