“In the eye of a hurricane there is quiet.”
In sixteen years my home has never even come close to being touched by floodwaters, but on August 28, 2017 at 1:30 a.m. the castle was breached. Even as we watched the waters inch in, our spirits were high, we were still laughing at the absurdity of the last minute-ness of our preparation, and the reality of losing our home had not yet sunk in.
The supersaturated reservoir our neighborhood was located next to overflowed into our streets, covering my entire world with at least three feet of unabashedly rising water. In the black of night, two boats and a fire truck passed through. We said we were okay.
Sixteen years and no evacuation; we weren’t about to start now.
The next morning, we evacuated.
We phoned 911. Those guys never even showed up.
After about two hours, a group of knights in grimy armor, called by my neighbor, arrived. We waded out of the house with a few backpacks and three days worth of clothes, wearing nothing but T-shirts and shorts. It was cold, it was loud, and we were still cheery– probably just the adrenaline, honestly. The lovely (no seriously, they were very cute haha) knights dropped us off in the middle of a dry street, told us to wait for a truck to come and went back to rescue more stranded souls. Like idiots, we stood there, the four of us and a few other families, as the rain fell a little faster and our shivers came a little quicker. After a false alarm with a circling helicopter, an accidental encounter with a fire ant pile, a ride down Westheimer Parkway on a little motorboat from Dallas, and an unforgettable trip in a highway patrol truck with handsomely uniformed men, we finally arrived at my old elementary school, which was serving as a temporary shelter and pickup spot for safely displaced persons such as I.
Since then, we’ve been staying with some old family friends who live in a much fancier neighborhood with an idyllic nature trail and lake embedded in it, and I’ve pretty gladly accepted the fact that this will be “home” for the next six months.
Despite the constant support from friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers, I can’t help but feel this overwhelming sense of emptiness, loss of direction, and isolation. I don’t even think I can attribute it entirely to the destruction of my home, which is even more confusing. Do not mistake confusion with ungratefulness, God forbid. I am thankful, and I know things could have been much worse, but perhaps it’s just the accumulation of stress, change, and hormones. For one thing, I’m a senior now, which means all my older friends have left me behind, my ensemble of people has reorganized, and my role in the world has slightly altered. College apps are also a real thing, deadlines are a thing, standardized testing is still a thing, studying and learning are still things, and my lack of motivation, lack of a goal, and utter mediocrity loom in front of me as well.
The “why do I even bother?” question is a daily occurrence. The answer? I don’t know.
I honestly just don’t know anymore.
I am alone.
I want a dog.
Yeah. A dog. I need a doggo.