I’m sitting in a rowboat. A doctor, with whom I am unacquainted, is rowing backward, facing me, and telling me about the swampy, foggy surroundings. He tells me how he has been studying the indigenous primates in the area for years, but there has been an incident. It turns out that a local couple, with whom I am slightly acquainted, is searching for their infant baby girl, who has evidently been stolen by the monkeys. They’re not sure she’s still alive. The hair on the back of my neck bristles and I feel a chill. The yapping calls of unseen monkeys make me scan the trees unsteadily. Thunder rumbles in the distance and dark clouds hover overhead.
I open my eyes with a start. It’s three in the morning.
Awakened by the roll of real-life thunder, I brush away the uneasy dream and reach out to JG sleeping next to me. I hate thunder. I know it’s just sound, but the sheer volume sends tremors down my back and makes my hands fly up, involuntarily, to shield my ears. It is impossible for me to relax during a storm; I clutch pillows and twitch nervously as lightning bolts blind me – an unnerving harbinger. This storm is worse than usual because I have images of a stolen baby girl and laughing chimpanzees with dangerous-looking teeth flying through my head. The vivid imagination that served me so well as a child is my downfall during the dark, wee hours when thunder booms, uninvited.
Conflicted between the heavy heat of our bedroom and the impulse to be covered and secure, I toss and turn to find a position that both deafens the noise and feels sheltered. My biceps are getting sore from the extended tension of my fingers plugged into my ears and I can’t help but slide over to JG’s side of the bed for comfort. He’s snoozing away, nonplussed by the storm, until I accidentally nudge him too strongly. “Is it the thunder?” he asks sleepily. Yes! Hence the quivering shell next to you! But I tell him to go back to sleep. It doesn’t make sense for the both of us to be awake at this hour.
The last time I look at the clock, it reads 4:34. I am exhausted. My arms are tired. I drift back to sleep, but thankfully, there are no child-stealing apes this time.
I am at work right now. I am a zombie. And there are scattered thunderstorms on the forecast every single day this week.