This story first appeared on and was well received on Scribophile.com ***Brownie points for those who know what song this was inspired by.*** I don’t know how we came to be together. I am skinny, but only because I am really too tall for my young age. Not strong enough to play sports and too ungainly because of my awkward dimensions, I am invisible...an unknown person... except to her. We’re driving down Lee Hall Rd. At the end, it becomes a dirt road winding past rolling Virginia cornfields. The humidity of the Tidewater summer has driven us out. It’s the perfect opportunity to drive fast with the rag-top roof of my beat up 1960 Impala pulled down. It was as unlovely as me, with only primer on the hood, the fin-tailed beast was the only car I could afford. As we pass through the cornfield road, dust blows up behind us into the dulled light of dusk, I look next to me and see her long straight black hair billowing back. She released it from the conventional hair band that she had on while spending the day with her grandmother. Though her features are serious, she has the look of one just freed from prison. I suddenly realize that while my car was no longer renown, it has a purpose and she joins me in the emancipation it provides. Her brown eyes are so dark that it's difficult to discern the pupils especially when she gazes with the sleepy look she gives me. We move from the corn fields to the forest roads of Gloucester, where the woods are so thick as to provide a wealth of privacy. From the moment she climbed into the front seat, she morphed from the sweet Virginia southern belle that her Grandparents loved bringing to their beautiful York River shore home in Clay Bank, into the audacious and uninhibited 18 year old she wanted to be. Like Grace Slick on my recent record purchase, she exuded provocation and non conformity. I was just bored: bored with my life, bored with being an outcast, bored with the eyes that wondered why I hadn't enlisted yet, bored with the casualty counts that Walter Cronkite reticently reported every night. She was bored with her own life and the expectations that were apparently saddled onto a Virginia debutante. By the time we are into the woods, she has gotten her brassiere off, hair loose, and sheds her jeans and deck shoes, so that she can recline and hang her bare feet outside the car. I try to focus on the road, though my attention was turned to her nearly perfect breasts that, freed from the bra’s confines, nonetheless still jut firm and upward. Her bikini underwear seemed to disappear into the curvy folds of her thighs, which look more voluptuous in that position. Clay Bank is no more than a scattering of houses pressing up against the north bank of the York River with a grand total of 40 or 50 people in residence there, swelling to 60 or 70 in the summer as the riverside rentals filled. I had seen her past summers and, when we finally struck up conversation, there seemed to be gravity in every word we spoke though we didn't really know each other. It is a mystery as to what even brought us together. We are friends out of necessity. I am her consolation prize. When she prompts me to drive her to our indeterminate destination, I should be surprised by her sensual ease. When she asks so casually, it doesn't make me feel like she is as out of my league as I feel. I don't have to come up with a campaign for wooing her. And there are no awkward moments mounting her in the spacious back seat, the request she made as we were driving her bare feet dangling outside the car; her relaxed, smiling words still sweetly resonating on my memory. “Take me some place and fuck me." ~~~ Our lives that summer were reduced to the lowest common denominator: our orgasms and our quest to achieve them. It was like we were convinced that if we could come better and harder than the previous time, we could ascend a summit of pleasure so rarefied that we might die from falling off the final precipice. At the drive in, she straddles me, wearing the ugly polyester mini skirt she had shopped with her grandmother in, filling the car with her repeated exclamation that fogged the window. “Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck!” We aren't the first people to fuck at the drive in but I feel like everyone is watching us and her abandon only prompts me to care even less. We become boundless. We have very little conversation anymore. Instead, I learn her; licking her, fingering her fucking her mouth, her ass, her hungry cunt. While we drive, she sits close to me on the bench seat so my hands can be on her. Once, before returning her to her grandmother's house, she pulls me back to the fenced side of the house and had me fuck her right beneath the old woman's lit up dining room bay window. Like a depraved bell curve, I fuck her with exponentially greater frequency. She reciprocates with her mouth often and with spontaneous impromptu; while driving around, ducking behind a tree next to the road, public restrooms. Almost like a pacifier, I would find my cock nestled in her mouth, her face relaxed and placated. Her skill makes me come with embarrassing haste. I am never sure when the delight of the next lightning strike would come. It becomes our ritual. The woods and the drive-in are favorite destinations because they allow her to take off all her clothes. However, as our urgency increases, we resort to more high risk locations to fuck. A couple of times we found an alley in Gloucester that is fairly reliable for its infrequency of traffic, though barflies from the building we fuck behind, often stumble out and pause with amusement to watch for a moment before returning inside. We don't even break rhythm. Occasionally, we steal away into a backroom at the local library but only on the nights that it's open late. Every night, is a new pursuit of the lightning. What we have isn't love. It is more immediate and demanding, and we use each other’s body as implements to achieve our single-minded goal. Because of our insatiable sexual heat, neither of us is put off by the obvious selfish motives we come to our couplings with. Paradoxically, what we do seems a supreme act of selfless generosity, both of us knowing that only in fully giving ourselves over were we ever going to find the thunder that should have followed all of those lightning strikes. ~~~ If you asked me now to describe her now, I could only relate the curves of her bosom, the texture of her nipple between my lips, the taste of her excitement in her pussy, the narcotic feeling being inside her. Her face became a vague apparition that only my earliest memories of her give any altar of remembrance. I don't regret letting her go that final summer before my number came up in the lottery. I would be lying if I said that I didn't want to see her when and if I came back from Viet Nam. I never told her that though. She never spoke any statements of regret for our imminent parting. That last day, we knew that we were only chasing the lightning and hoping for the thunder. We fucked all day in the grass and on the hood of the car and in the back seat and later at the drive-in. Like the approaching separation from each other, the heat of our sex invariably began to ebb with the shortening of time. Again, we didn't speak of it. We both felt a sacred duty to honor the organic conclusion to the thunder hunt. I don't remember the movie flickered through the slightly fogged front windshield, the car roof up to contain her throes of pleasure. It was unnecessary because both of our reactions were muted throughout the day, the lightning just brief flashes compared the bulk of the summer. We felt obligated and fucked almost respectfully with each other. Laying in each other's arms, the movie lighting her sad face, she looked up and instead of saying she would miss me; that I should be careful in combat. Instead she thanked me like I had done her a simple favor all summer. I understood. Almost immediately, I turned my thoughts away from her. I would dredge the summer up when I wanted to jerk off. I tried over the years to resurrect the same quality of lightning with a parade of girls before and after the war. There was no substitute. There were other pleasures but they seemed hollow. Like lightning without thunder. ~~~ My wife only shifts slightly but the distant sound of a storm brewing woke me, the rumbling arching through the house as if we lived under a bowling alley. There was a distant flash of lightning. One one thousand; two one thousand; three one thousand. There was another cacophony of thunder, sounding distant and then seeming to move closer. Three miles away. I only woke when the thunder caused the storm windows to shudder. I got up and went into the kitchen, never completely over my childhood fear of lightning strikes and the sudden claps of thunder it produced. I hummed the song that I always did every time a storm comes on. In my head, the Four Seasons’ Sherry was in perfect pitch. She had told me one night in the back seat as we were watching a summer squall build up, that it was her favorite song because it had her name in it. She couldn’t tell everyone that she liked it though because it wasn’t hip or cool that summer. That was an uncommon, dark summer and the music was becoming angry, psychedelic, and dystopian. Sherry was a chaste song in comparison. It was an irony that we often smiled at between bouts of fucking. The drive to return Sherry home that last night was like a funeral procession. We had striven for something and like Cervantes' noble warrior we had failed. We were mining for diamonds in the coal something only time and pressure could offer. Both of us held a measure of resignation at the inevitability of our loss. When she got out the car, there was a pause between us. We both measured what was about to happen to us. I was relatively certain I was going to be laying dead in the mud of a southeast Asian jungle with a couple .762 millimeter bullets in my torso. And before Sherry turned to the front door,I saw the inevitability in her eyes too. When my tour was up three years later, people of Clay Bank and Gloucester were slow to speak to me. I thought it was because everyone had the look that I was destined for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It took me almost three days to realize that the sad girl who hung herself over the last Christmas holiday that the townspeople lamented was Sherry. ~~~ Before moving back to my bed, I stand at the bedroom’s threshold and stare at my wife sleeping. I work two jobs and our kids need orthodontics. My wife and I are well-intentioned but quarrel often. That part of life, the struggle to provide, to love, to lead, seem never ending. Everything could be lost if I don’t fulfill the role I assumed. It's funny; those nights in the woods, naked in the backseat with Sherry, seemed to be over before they began. I came out of that summer, and that war, irrevocably changed. However, if asked to elaborate, the elements of that transition escapes me. I lay back down and, with bittersweet fondness, wish that I could feel the lightning again. But lightning only comes in the heat of the summer. Now Autumn was upon me and my sweet wife. It was a dry season with more temperate weather, not conducive to the violent nature of lightning. The lightning is gone from my life and from Sherry’s. The only thing left was the echo of the thunder long since resounded.