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Equally horrible at taking picturesI froze at the threshold of my home as another arc of lightning splintered the summer sky.  The storm cleaved the heavens in two and on my right the dark clouds raged on, growling and spitting on everything below. To my left the sky was pink from the storm’s assault, raw but healing; and I longed to dance. Soon I was sprinting towards the street. My bare feet raced down the driveway and I leaped from the curb to a puddle ankle-deep. I laughed in giddy delight, all pretense of feigned maturity cast aside. I stomped and sang my rain dance to the God’s.

Within moments she was beside me. We giggled and swung arm in arm through the deluge left by the storm; from puddle to puddle we skipped until we were too tired to move. Our chins tipped towards the sky to watch the storm peter out. We sang in unison, “Singing in the rain, it’s a beautiful feeling, I’m happy again”.

I was 16 years old and it would be the last summer where I felt like a kid. My best friend, Wanita, was with me for those last precious moments of my childhood. We’d travelled across the province to live with my mother for a month. We spent our nights eating popcorn and watching old movies. We screamed in unison as we slathered hot wax on our legs and performed our first (and my last) hair ripping event. We sun bathed topless next to each other and chattered about topics as banal as movie stars and as dangerous as our favourite brand of cigarette. It was the summer of my first tattoo and of our first real fight. It was the best summer of my life.

But it was that dance in the rain that I have never forgotten. A moment where I didn’t worry about who watched, a moment where I lived with a storm raging overhead and held no worries about the future. Lightning may strike, but I finally had the courage to believe I would survive it.

After that summer Wanita moved away. I never saw her again. We’ve kept in contact all these years through email and Facebook. Our friendship has never wavered, never been altered by distance or time. We are sisters. We have both faced our own thunderous challenges, ones that seem big enough to blow us off our feet. But without hesitation we cling to one another, arm in arm, and I have hope that our rain dance will always appease the Gods and the storms will blow over.

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