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Image for the Day: Hello, Hurricane Season

September 28, 2010

I awakened at 5:07 this morning to a frightening flash of light, so bright it startled me even through my heavy eyelids. My eyes snapped open as the war drums of nearby thunder beat long and steady from the sky. As a native Floridian, I am not often afraid of storms. They are not strangers when they come to my doorstep, beat against the windowpane, and rumble through the walls. But I felt fear as the orange glow of the street light shone through my uncurtained window, tinting the steadily growing onslaught of rain. I have been living in that house for a month now, and as water pounded the roof above me, I realized that I did not know if this new dwelling could stand up to a storm.

I imagined how dark the house would be, with all the windows covered in shutters, and I remembered the way the wind howled against the flimsy boards that would protect my mom’s home during hurricanes. If the storm was weak enough, a category one or two, we would leave the windows unshuttered and watch the aluminum rip off of the neighbors’ porch roofs and tumble down the street like huge wads of paper. Once, the wind seemed to beat against the large dining room window so hard, we were afraid it would shatter. My mother and I braced ourselves against it for some time, our hands absorbing the vibrations. We made it through that hurricane, like many others whose names I do not remember. When it had finally passed us over, we left the house and wandered the neighborhood, talking to neighbors as we headed down the street to survey the damage. I remember seeing one of those aluminum roofs clinging to the top of a tree.

So this morning, I imagined myself in the new house, and what it would be like to see the bushes in the front yard ripped from the ground and sweep down the road. I imagined water leaking through my ceiling, spoiling all the books on my shelf and ruining the carpet. I imagined a tornado forming as I lay weary in my bed, its cone shape twisting drunkenly down the street, pulling everything into itself. Of course, this was no hurricane, just a normal Florida storm. I have not been through a hurricane in four years now. Why was I suddenly afraid of this storm?

Amy

The Writer’s Club

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