The First Time I…

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Today’s post is my response to this week’s Remembe(red) prompt over at The Red Dress Club. We were asked to write about the first time we ___ after ____.

* * *

The first time I walked outside after Hurricane Andrew, I was trudging through knee deep water, trying to make my way across the street. I was 14 years old and I was scared.

We thought that we were in the eye of the Hurricane, having lost all communication with the outside world during the storm.

As we made our way across the street – “we” being myself, my mother, my three sisters, my grandmother, my aunt and uncle and cousin – I saw my friends running down the street, farther down the block, and called out to them to come over. They responded back that the storm was over and they were going to check on all of the neighbors.

My mother didn’t believe them. They were just kids, after all.

We should have known that we weren’t in the eye, because it was windy. From everything I’ve heard about Hurricanes, the eye of the storm is dead quiet and still. In the panic of the moment, we just didn’t know any better. All my mother could think about was getting her family to safety.

We stayed in our neighbor’s house for a few hours, trying to listen to the radio whenever the wind died down.

Static.

The wind continued the whip around the corners of the house, creating a shrill whine.

We wondered how much worse it would be once the eye was over. Our neighbor’s house had received very little damage. There was a leak in their family room.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Looking across the street at our house, I grew jealous of how lucky our neighbors were. Being a corner house, ours sustained so much of the brunt force of the wind…

I just wanted to go home.

I wanted to run into my bedroom and see what had happened to my things. I was only 14 but I was mature enough to realize that there wasn’t going to be much left for me to see. I heard the windows shattering during the storm. I saw what was left of our living room as we ran from the house.

I looked out the neighbor’s front window and stared at our pine tree in front of the house. It was split in half.

I was desperate to see what had happened to my things.

The roof to our front porch was missing.

I wanted to find my little cat.

I could see through where our bay windows used to be – straight through to our backyard. Our sliding glass door was gone.

I wanted to dig under my mattress for all of the love letters from my ex-boyfriend that I had hidden so carefully from my parents.

It looked as though some angry child had walked from window to window, shattering each pane of glass.

That unknowing, it was driving me mad.

Our aluminum shutters were gone.

I just wanted to go home.

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Comments

  1. says

    There is really no insightful comment that I can leave here other than to say that this is a very powerful post. My heart hurt for you…

  2. says

    Wow! Such a tramatic experience. The one thing I was wondering while reading is why would you and your family come outside if you thought you were in the eye of the hurricane?? Where you trying to get to safer shelter??? Stopping by from the red dress club.

    • says

      The eye of a hurricane is like a break – no wind, no rain, perfectly still. Our house was pretty much demolished and we were all stuck in a bathroom with a matress against the door to keep the wind out. We were trying to get to a safer place.

  3. says

    Wow. This is powerful. This, “trying to listen to the radio whenever the wind died down” really brought things into perspective for me. I can’t imagine the wind being so powerful for so long that you couldn’t hear the radio. Amazing. Very powerful story. It’s amazing that you were not hurt.

  4. says

    Oh this is so very scary! I can’t even imagine being that age experiencing this- old enough to understand, young enough to need comfort.

    This line: “The wind continued to whip around the corners of the house, creating a shrill whine.” was beautifully written; eerily so.

    I’ve never experienced anything like this; and I’m thinking I’ll go ahead and stop complaining about my everyday stuff- perspective noted!

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