i am terrified of tornadoes. when its storming and then everything stops and the sky turns green and the birds are tricked into coming out of hiding—that is when i experience the deepest terror. the thing about tornadoes is that they are built into the fiber of the earth’s heartbeat, they are part of the rise and the fall, the deep breaths and the sharp inhales. i am terrified of this tornado life—what if all i can hope for is that five minutes of calm before the wreckage, that stillness that does not come without a price? what if my whole life i have been riding out this storm, my passionate heart rumbling on like the deepest thunder and my impulsive, racing brain shooting ideas and bursting out of confines like the sharpest streak of electricity across the night sky, just to realize that there is no end, no penultimate happiness, no comfort in finality? what if my instinctive, blind, conditioned response of sheer terror to tornadoes is part of a larger consciousness that finally understands the necessity of preluding the word ‘romantic’ with the word ‘hopeless’? what if the lower atmosphere will always be warmer than the upper atmosphere and the resulting unstable pressure system is inevitable—the tilting of the wind shear much like a life trajectory that has no destiny, gusts of air that are fated to constantly change direction? it is not the lull of stoicism that i crave but the internal stillness that i dream comes with growing roots deep enough to experience tranquility even in the midst of unpredictable squalls. what if we are all actually isolated thunderstorms that occasionally come into contact, only to eventually mess up the air front or the updraft of the other, creating a cyclone that uproots and flattens and necessitates a new beginning? isolated storms are more likely to form tornadoes than storm systems, and i am terrified that life is actually only a solitary tempest, that when stripped down it is comprised of not much more than your own pressure system and the looming threat of empty funnel clouds.