I sit on the front porch, watching the sky go from bright blue to black. Clouds churn in the winds and within seconds the gusts come much stronger. Strong and heavy, floating humidity flooding the ground; it's tornado weather. You wouldn't know it five minutes ago. There's a chorus of monotonous weathermen issuing a tornado watch, their static voices lost in the wind. We should go inside before it gets too ugly. But it's midday in Middle-of-Nowhere Nebraska and there is nothing better to do. The whole block is standing on their porches, craning their necks at the sky. It wasn't this way the first time. It's not difficult to remember landing in a godforsaken corn field after flying through a storm.
This is not my idea of America. Then again, I didn’t know what to expect of it. More glamour and skyscrapers and Hollywood signs. Nobody warned me about the flat nothingness between New York and L.A. What even was Nebraska? The plane we took from Chicago had about twenty people. I sat next to my mother, looking out of the window. Weird, where did the fields go? It was replaced by layer upon layer of clouds. Not the fluffy white ones that just seemed to float. These were the ones which hung from the sky, dark and heavy. From all my years of flying, I knew this wasn’t good news. In all the eloquence and imagination 8-year-old me could muster, I said: “Uh oh.”
Not long after, the cabin shook. Turbulence was standard; I was used to turbulence. This was the wrath and fury of some invisible giant, throwing the plane around the air. It groaned and whined along wits passengers as a static announcement sounded over the intercom. I didn’t hear it. The air was electric. Strangely, I was tired. Disregarding safety precautions, I loosened my seat belt, resting my head on my mother’s lap. She played with my hair and murmured something under her breath. It reminded me of the bumpy dirt paths we sometimes took in Mexico. Same rough terrain, same reassuring presence.
It was then that I had, as one does, an epiphany. My face was red with tears, concentrated on not throwing up all over my mother’s shoes, but there was a glint in my eyes. From the distorted reflection of the tray-table, I looked mad. This sudden realization was both incredibly silly and life-changing at the same time. It was a mixture of Disney movies and inspirational mood boards-a half-coherent thought probably stolen from Facebook. In retrospect, it is rather absurd, how acceptance calms the mind from its perpetual screaming. I don’t actually remember this life-alerting prophecy but it went something like this:
I was the clouds, slamming the brakes on the wind as it showed no signs of stopping. From Middle-of-Somewhere Turkey to Middle-of-Everywhere Mexico and now to Middle-of-Nowhere Nebraska. I was those currents, riding through the sea of change. My life was shaped by change. I was shaped by change. I became it. I could create change. I could from beingchanged to actually be change. Needless to say, it was an epic feeling.
The clouds go from black to blue, always a promising sign of hail. The air is sweet in its Nebraskan flavoring. The storm’s a-comin’. It’s weird how used to it I am by now. I’d like to say that I took my new understanding to heart. As things go, I just let my life happen. I just let myself be changed. I rode the same currents (I will ride these same currents all my life) but I rode them with fervor. That is, the kind an explorer feels when setting off to new lands. There’s still more to do, more to live. But for now, we go inside. Just you wait, a storm’s a-coming’. A show’s a-comin’.