Friday, October 11, 2013

After the Storm

Clouds, yellow green and ominous cover the sky in its entirety. Five columns of black descend destroying everything in their path. They are thick, heavy, solid, dark and bent on destruction. I watch them, rooted in place and horrified by the damage they wrought. As the biggest, the blackest, the most solid bears down directly on me I wake with a start; my heartbeat shakes the entire bed. My breathing is shallow and I feel frozen to the bone even though I am well covered.

I turn toward the rock that is my husband, wrapping myself against his warm back, tucking myself into the curve created by his bent knees. As he reaches in his sleep and pulls me nearer still I begin to relax. Once the pounding in my chest and the blood rushing in my ears subsides a bit I can hear the steady loud chug-chug of the air conditioner a scant three feet away. I hear the noise of people that wander the darkness outside the window with its stiff bright orange, yellow and green curtains. The heavy covering for the old mattress a thousand people have slept on is folded and wrinkled and uncomfortable under my skin. The pillow is flat and not soft, not welcoming as a pillow should be. Instead it is a harder by the minute brick on which my head lays. Tear soaked and smelling like someone else’s laundry it is the pillow that finally drives me from the warmth of the bed and into the cold white tile of the hotel bathroom.

I realize I haven’t got any clothes except those I had on when the tornado destroyed my home, turning me into a weather refugee. The Red Cross had given us coffee and dinner and called around to hotels for me. A $75 dollar gift certificate redeemable just about anywhere had been pressed into my hand but I was too distraught and could literally not let go of my husband to go shopping. I feared if I did he would blow away, dancing in the sky waving to me as he rotated and flew off just as my wedding dress, my pajamas, my winter coat had.  

I drew a hot bath, scalding water, pouring the teeny bottle of body wash in it to make it feels smooth on my skin. I rolled up a towel and stuck it under my neck as a make shift pillow and sunk chin deep into the tub. I couldn’t hear the rattling AC unit in here, nor the whores outside, nor my husband snoring, sleeping well cocooned in the wrinkled and bleach smelling bed. I closed my eyes and began to drift off, again and again, each time being jerked awake by the wind, the malevolent wind. After the water cooled I rose, pulled on  my dirty clothes and slipped outside for a smoke.