I had a girlfriend who got caught up in a tornado. And I mean up. An actual tornado. It was in Iowa, I think. One of those shitty vowel states. She was babysitting and took the kids to a silo apocalypse shelter that the crazy farmer dad had made and the youngest kid wanted her stuffed giraffe named Ollie or some crap like that and my ex- went back in the house for it and on the way back out the tornado actually picked her up and she cried once after sex telling me the whole story, saying that it felt like God loved her so much that He was showing her what it’s like in Heaven. And I couldn’t say she was talking like a nut case, because we’d just had sex and there was a blanket’s wet spot that was actually from her pond of tears from sharing this event that, to me, just seemed kind of stupid. I mean, she was safe in a shelter and she risks her life for a pile of yellow polyester. But what really got me angry was when we were having an argument months later about her crazy church she took me to where they were trying to blame 9-11 on “the gays” and she was saying that she wasn’t racist and I wanted to explain to her the difference between homophobia and racism and she tells me that I’ve “never had to suffer.” Now, keep in mind that I was in Desert Storm; albeit, I was only in Bahrain and not, like, front-lines Iraq, but I had six guys from my base killed in an airplane crash and she’s saying that that’s nothing because I wasn’t directly hurt. She pulls off her shirt and shows me her stupid tornado scars that, truth be told, do look like she survived a solid Medieval torture session, but what I hate is that only her pain is valid. So I tell her that she is racist and is homophobic and is a classist and she throws a plate at me, hitting me in the forehead. Heads are highly vascular, so the blood starts coming down, thank God, right into my face, so that she can see what she’s just done, and she, of course, gets apologetic and starts wetting a rag to clean it off, but I push her away and just wipe the blood further into my face so that my entire head is covered in capillary and I’m feeling a little woozy from all of this and then I pass out, because I’m 6’6” and I’ve been susceptible to syncope my entire life and when I’m lying on the floor I see her coming over and she tells me to get up, to quit pretending, and my head is throbbing with real red-black pain, and there is broken plate glass by my face, so I roll over, stare up at the ceiling fan spinning around and around and I point up and say, “Look, it’s a tornado.” And she storms out of the house, the door slamming open, and I never see her again. I mean, not even passing in an alley or bus stop or anything. I remember cleaning up all the glass and it was like it was some sort of mythological moment where each time I threw away some of the glass, I’d find another in its place. Years later, and I mean literally years, I would walk across that kitchen floor and I’d feel a little piece of glass going into my foot and I’d go over to the couch, sit down, and pull it out, staring at this skinny tiny stupid clear V of something that I should be eating off of and not having it try to eat me instead. And I don’t know why I did this—maybe it was the soft-ass PTSD or maybe it was just the insanity of chronic adjunct teaching poverty or it could be that I’d just stepped on one thousand too many of these pieces of pain—but I went outside, grabbed an old golf club my dad was storing in my storage space, went back inside, and I beat the ceiling fan so hard that it was like a parade of fiberboard, this perfect confetti of particleboard where it was snowing anger and the beautiful thing was it felt like I was leaving her and forgetting her and that she was getting sucked up into a tornado of my mind where I could have emptiness where she’d once been and I’d meet someone in the future who would let the giraffe die a brutal wind death and I’d be over the whole Desert Storm fiasco so that we could just go to a normal boring cuddly church and be bored together in peace.