On lonely nights, when the thunder rolls and lightning cracks the sky, Jane can’t help but stop. Simply … stop. Whether she’s reading, going over satellite data, writing down yet another proof, or even just having a quiet cup of tea… she stops.
Always, every time, her feet draw her to the window. Like magnetism, she thinks, stupidly. Always her mind whirls and clicks, moving to technical names and explanations, reaching for the scientific answer. Categorizing life into neat little compartments is easy.
The thunderstorms, though. They’re not so easy. Sometimes she swears she can feel electricity whispering across her skin. Sometimes it feels like a touch on her jaw. A low laugh in her ear. Warm, sometimes. Very warm. All phantasmic. All gone in the blink of an eye. But so, so real, for just a breath of time.
When she snaps out of her reverie, every time, to realize she’s still alone, a sick emptiness opens up in the pit of her stomach. She ignores it, or tries. She rarely succeeds. You can’t categorize emotions like that, put them in tiny mental boxes and sort them away. They live and breathe, they tangle and complicate, they constrict and bend and sometimes set free. It’s confusing as hell, and all too human.
She wishes, very desperately, that she didn’t notice. Or care, really. That she didn’t startle like a deer every time she hears that distant snare drum roll that might be mistaken for a storm. She wishes that when it rained, when it was dark, when the conditions were just so, she didn’t inevitably end up searching the sky for swirling, impossible lights. Rainbow lights.
It was just a few days. A quick crush. One kiss. Why does she still care?
Why does she still search?
But I give you my word.
Probably the same reason she sits by a chair and watches the rain slide down the glass during every storm. Like a moth to flame, inexorable and constant. She never flutters close enough to truly get burned. But spending all this time near the heat is giving her slow, painful burns. Charred black and awful and sticky. Beneath her skin, where no one can see them.
I will return for you.
Maybe, in a way, it’s just simple stubbornness. Jane set her heart on the stars when she was very young, crawling out of bed when she was just five to tiptoe quietly over to her little telescope. One eye squeezed shut so tight as she looked through and watched the heavens slowly wheel. Her father would find her in the morning, curled up in a little ball on the floor, a teddy bear clutched to her chest. The telescope was never more than a hand’s length away.
She knew then what she wanted. Despite herself, despite everything, despite common sense and all reason, she knows what she wants now, too. Even in the moments when she thinks she dreamed it, those starless nights when she believes for a brief, bleary span it was all her imagination. It’s stupid, maybe. This isn’t some epic, timeless romance. She’s not a Juliet type of girl. What romance even is there? Was there? Why should she wait forever? No, no - not wait. It’s not in her nature to wait for things to come to her. But why bother chasing this? Why chase him?
Why jump when the rain falls and the thunder roars?
Maybe it is, she concedes sometimes, a kind of magic. Just a little. Just a bit. Jane resists the urge to study the evolutionary development of feelings of attachment. Of love. She resists, proudly, mind you, the urge to put a clear and logical name to what she feels, what she’s doing, why she’s doing it all.
For all she asks herself those questions when the sun is bright, when there aren’t any clouds in the sky, she has her answer in the thunder and the rain and the lightning.
Maybe it’s as simple as wanting to believe.