I jumped right into this new job with everything I had. Instinct took over and the familiarity of it all came rushing back. Yes, it was like a rush and I was living off of that adrenaline. I had to, for I would work until 1pm each day at my other job – quickly going home, grabbing a quick bite to eat before rushing out of the home and into the neighbouring city to the restaurant, where I would be until 10 or 11 that night. I would then make my way back home to do it all over again the next morning.
Being new to the prairies I was fascinated with the prairie sky. It is huge and captures over three quarters of what you are looking at when you look out at the horizon. It is quite the experience and serves well at humility – there is an insignificance to your presence when standing outside in the middle of a field staring out at the sky. In comparison to the majestic mountains of the most western province that soared high into the sky, they were intimidating, like a looming force standing over you – and that in itself was humbling, but after being there for awhile, one would get used to those same mountains – seeing them as more of a protector than an intimidator.
But, in the prairies there was nothing to personify. There was the ground and then there was the sky. You were alone in this vast land with the vastness of space covering you and one could not help but to have that eery feeling wash over them – that if I were to disappear suddenly right now – who would notice? My insignificance was what intimidated me in those moments, not the majestic natural surroundings. So, when the prairie summer storms came, they captured my imagination in the same way that a young child’s imagination may steer him after hearing a scary story.
A storm in the prairies plays out like a full piece orchestra in a large auditorium. The large sounds filling every corner of the auditorium, unsure of its source as the sound envelopes you, overtaking you, and immersing you in the experience of it all. Over the prairies the sky would darken, accented by shades of purple, orange, and green. The winds would begin to dance in hypnotic ways and the clouds would swirl above. Then darkness as the lights go down and a hush is heard throughout the audience. A flash of light in the distance, followed by a low rumbling boom. Another flash of light, closer now, more pronounced, more distinct, followed by an even louder boom and a crack. Then before you know it the crackling streaks of blinding white light connecting the sky to the ground appears all around you with a steady roar of the storm, the wind mixed with the booms and the cracks.
These storms are the norm every summer but this first summer there were several nights that I would be driving home that they would keep me company in the distance. However, on this one particular late evening the storm was over the city and it wasn’t going anywhere. I drove out into the blinding rain and wind, slowly making my way onto the highway back home. Then just a couple kilometres out of the city the rain stopped, leaving the intensity of the lightening to keep me company. It danced around me like devils taunting it’s victim, the loud booms frightening me as I gripped the wheel tighter.
And then – boom. Well, the boom came in the instant afterwards. The instant after the lightening strike hit my van, illuminating everything inside the van, outside of the van, leaving every hair on my body on end, a weird hum and frightful silence in that second. I lost my breath but was not hurt. My hands came off of the steering wheel – my foot off of the accelerator as I was at the storm’s mercy. I slowed down but after being released from its grip, being thrown back into the storm’s darkness I trembled and wept softly as I carefully continued on my journey home.
I survived that encounter. Our van, however, did not. The first ‘electrical ghost’ would show up a couple of months later and would continue to persist, forcing us to eventually get rid of the van.
But that drive, that night. It changed me. It helped me put some things into perspective. I was rethinking what I was doing with my life. Why was I working this additional job? Why wasn’t I just going full speed with my schooling? Life questions filled my mind over those next few weeks. Then the company let me know that surprisingly they had worked things out with the manager and now wanted to figure out a way to have us both co-manage the store. This brought back the ugly nightmare that was my life when I came back from time off when I had lost my son. When the company kept another manager on to help ‘assist me’. How ironic that I was now to be that manager.
Not bloody likely.
It all just seemed not worth it any longer. The storms and the being hit by lightening started me thinking down this path and now this co-managing rubbish was a blast from the past that I was not looking forward to. So I talked to the provincial director and quit. My efforts needed to be on school. I didn’t want to drag this part of the next chapter in my life. I wanted to graduate and move on to wherever I was going to move on to.
Come to think of it. I had no idea what that was. Where was moving on? What did that look like? What the hell was I doing and why hadn’t I thought about these things before taking this leap?