Storms in Kansas today. Storms in Kansas most days. Dark clouds roil in stop-motion ahead of us. I-35 is covered from Oklahoma to Missouri, my wife tells me from the passenger seat. She curses the slow data out in the boonies. I wonder what the deluded devout on the southern end of the road think about the storms pounding their Holy Highway. A sign of divine wrath, no doubt. Everything is divine wrath to them. We crave their wrath. My groin tingles with the danger.
We detour to chase. You have to take the date-night Mother Nature gives you. We don't have a reservation, and storms are sexier than a salad and pasta. Some goddesses are beautiful because they're terrible. I wonder how the woman beside me feels the adrenaline in her anatomy, different than mine.
The green tinge falls from the sky in a hurry to kiss the short corn into a sicker shade. Risk and reward share a bed. That boudoir is close.
I'm glad we're in the old Jeep when the sharp pings! begin. Little balls of ice skitter in the dents reminding us of prior storms. I slow down as pings! turn to THUDS! that pound new dents into the hood. Our risk and our reward snake down together to the south of the road on my wife's side. Storm clouds sip farmland and barns up through a twisty-straw. Remains are spat out around the base of funnel. We gasp.
The tingle tells me we might die, but we haven't yet. I stop in the grass between the road and the cornfield to wait for whatever comes. I wonder if my wife feels it, too, this ecstatic terror; I know she she feels it when her fingers into my arm.
The corn plants press flat beneath the rain and hail and wind, almost seeking shelter in the soil. My wife clings to me, and I cling to her. We seek shelter pressed together. The Jeep rocks in the din. We feel foolish for a fraction of a second, but mostly we feel young again. The ecstasy comes.