Archive for May, 2014

Hurricane Gloria

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 28, 2014 by rogerhumanbeing

It’s 1986. At school an announcement has been made. We will be going home early today. Hurricane Gloria is set to hit tonight. The teacher is instructing us all to place our chairs on our desks. While putting on my back pack, the sudden crescendo of the students jars me, mocking my nervous anticipation. The teacher orders us to quiet down. I play with the nearly broken rubber stopper on the foot of my turned up chair leg, looking at the clock. Eventually we move out single file, out to the front of the school. My dad is outside. He is always on time. He tells me to not worry, that God will take care of us. When we get home, my mom is getting together an “early dinner.” My mom keeps a menu which consists of something like this….Monday night – spaghetti, Tuesday night – macaroni and cheese and hotdogs, Wednesday night – fish sticks and French fries, Thursday night – pork chops, Friday night – meat and gravy over rice, Saturday Night – something fun, like breakfast foods, Sunday – usually a big chicken dinner. I like when she colors the chicken orange.
Tonight my mom is making macaroni and cheese. My dad has already boarded up the windows. I ask my dad if the hurricane is really going to be that bad. My dad is bewildered.
My mom tells my dad that before the storm gets bad and before we eat, she would like us to go visit her friend across the street. This is met with great protest from my dad. My dad does not like this idea, but for other reasons not involving the storm. Eventually my dad caves, and it is decided that we will go over there. I am more nervous now. We go outside and the wind is very strong. As we approach the house, my dad lets out a whistle and a “oh boy.” The house has decorations from every holiday. A snowman is next to a witch. A Santa is next to an Easter bunny. Christmas lights strangle the hedges. My mom’s friend answers the door. There is an overwhelming immense sound of dog’s barking as we enter. Dogs, Birds, and cats, in cages in the living room. In every bedroom. In the hall. A man sits at the kitchen table near more cages. Leather jacket, alarming smile. He looks like he’s never stopped riding a motorcycle. Even now. My mom’s friend looks like Ozzy Osbourne after a long tour, years after Black Sabbath. Her voice is raspy, and she takes her time saying a sentence. There is talk about how long the power will last. There is a tv on in the living room with the news on. My dad is attempting to talk with the man at the table. My brother is surveying all the animals. I ask him why they are all in cages. He tells me that he thinks that she’s saved these animals. I feel bad for them. I ask my brother why they are all in cages. He says that he doesn’t know, but that he thinks maybe because there are so many of them. I feel weird about it.
My mother tells her friend that she would like to say a prayer for safety. The two of them kneel in front of the tv, which makes me more nervous. My mom is praying in a way that she usually doesn’t. They are raising their hands in unison and then bringing them down to the floor. My dad is telling them to take it easy. I feel scared. Eventually they stop as my mom finishes her prayer. Immediately my parents are acting like they do when they’re about to get into a fight. My dad says that it’s time to go back home now before the storm really hits.
While we’re eating the dinner, the power goes out. My mom immediately begins lighting candles. I feel uneasy and start asking questions. My older brother is telling me about an epic G.I.Joe battle that we can have in the dark. My brother is a genius and has battery powered lights attached to G.I.Joe vehicles, which is something that we do anyway, even while normally having power. It’s at this moment where something isn’t feeling right, and I need to go to the bathroom. I am sitting on the toilet by candle light. Shadows scare me, and I’m very nervous about the hurricane. Shadows are the reason I slept for maybe 3 hours during 3 years of my childhood. My mom is checking on me, asking me through the door if I’m okay. I tell her I’m fine. But I’m not. I can’t shit. My dad is asking me if I’m okay. My brother is asking me if I’m okay. I eventually go into the kitchen and awkwardly try to explain to my mom what is happening. Her one word reply consists of “prunes!!” I eat the prunes, and sure enough I can do my business. Amen.