It came from A.D. Guzman

It came from A.D. Guzman

A.D. Guzman’s story “An Hour in the City of Lightning” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 18 November 2022. Metaphorosis

“An Hour in the City of Lightning” began with my grandmother literally kicking me and my kids and my father out when we showed up at her house to sit a bedside vigil for my dying grandfather because, according to her, we weren’t family. And a fascinating documentary about how awesome lightning is! Angry and hurt, I vented those feelings into a story where I could properly say goodbye to my grandfather and transform that hurt into something beautiful and wonderful. Now that time has passed, I was able to purge that initial anger and keep the beautiful celebration of how “no one is truly lost when they’ve changed those left behind.”

The characters are, of course, not my family. My grandfather was a respected lawyer and judge, not a farmer, but he was a loveable, jolly man who slapped tunes for us grandkids on his false leg (he lost it in WWII) and invented funny nicknames for the people in his life. My nickname was Little Mandidty Went to the City and Played a Ditty. My favorite was his proctologist Dr. Roe, or as he called him, Dr. Row, Row, Row Your Bottom. I borrowed his humor and kindness for the grandpa character. In fairness to my grandmother, she adopted my mother as a child so we were only family on paper not by blood. And I’ve come to think a lot of her traits that I borrowed for Gran were probably the result of being a very ambitious woman living in a time and place with few opportunities for a woman to achieve respect and authority for herself.

The lightning documentary did not imply that there are other worlds inside lightning, but rather, it showed footage of how lightning decides where to strike, following stepped leaders branching and dissipating faster than the eye can see until that perfect connection is made. This reminded me of multiverse theories, of realities branching off, and thus the City of Lightning was born. I’ve never ventured beyond our universe myself, but I hold out hope that there is a myriad of strange and wonderful worlds out there to be discovered. And that we’ll give them the respect they deserve when we do.

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