As we huddle in a corner of our smallest room, I wonder how I never noticed the similarities between “window” and “wind”. I guess I never had a reason to think critically about the providence of glass. Should I feel comforted that the namer of windows built his prototype with the wind in mind? Could he envision the current gales—spinning at 185 mph, or picture the rain it would toss in sheets against our 1-story block house?
We were expecting a day off from work, to throw a hurricane hunker down party with all the people we knew who were fleeing the waterfront. Now our cars are rolling down the street, side over side, stopping at our neighbor’s front door, and in the wind its wheels keep spinning, a feat I did not previously think possible.
We gaze through the blue glow of an iPhone at the satellite image of the hurricane eye; we see NASA’s cross section measuring the rainfall at 10.8 inches per hour. We are mesmerized by the thirsty wall sucking up gallons of ocean at a time. A dance, like ribbons twirling, liquid cloud, devouring mouth. Every space station passover brings new, beautiful views of the devastation. Lights of Cuba blinking out. I begin to think of the astronauts as helpless gods.
And what happens to all the fish caught up in the eye wall? Do fish rain down on the city, my oldest son asks. Flopping around on the churned-up streets, on I-75 collapsed with sink holes?
I prop up my tired children on my milk-deflated breast. Their eyes do not close when I chide them with lullabies but remain fixed on the shuddering roof and jump at the whack of every tree branch. When the sun bursts from the eye, I have to convince them that it is a fool’s freedom. They want to run outside and view the calamity. They want to laugh and smile.
We will eat trail mix in gallon bags, eat it until our eyes burst with candy covered chocolate and the little peanuts make their way through our salty pores.
We will consider the goldfish still swimming around with meat on his fishy bones.
We will drink beer because the Irish taught us of the necessary sanitation inherent in a Guinness.
We will bottle our bath water.
We will wade through water or walk over it or swim under it.
We will not touch the water for fear of fallen power lines and floating ant colonies.
We will start looking at the ocean with suspicion, as if she were to blame. We are to blame. No one is to blame. Blame is irrelevant. I have no roof.
Disaster is past, present, and future. You will look back in ignorance of fact or fear. All storms are always happening simultaneously to all its victims. Our voices rise from rubble to curse the day our storm was named.
Lauren Dostal is a Florida State graduate and native Floridian. She lives in Tampa with her husband, two kids, and two lovely black felines. Her work will appear in the forthcoming Moonchild Magazine. She has recently finished her first novel. Find her Twitter babble here: @ell_emm_dee