This Will Pass

Writing-101 June 2014 class badge An entry for Writing 101, Day One: Unlock the Mind.

A 20-minute free-writing exercise.

I’m not entirely comfortable publishing this one. If not for the twist, I’d have left it private.

I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed, angry or something else entirely. I meditated for a few heartbeats. Deep breaths. Only the sound of the air moving through my in my nose and out my mouth and the white noise of the laptop fan. I empty my thoughts and clear my mind and I’m left with only one topic:

That fucking tornado.

It’s been about a year from the day I spent threading my car through the destruction, unwilling to stop at the checkpoints as they were going up. I said fuck the tornado then too: I was going home, police and national guard be damned. A year and twenty-two days since I saw the a neighborhood turned green, every surface coated in pulped vegetation and insulation. I drove through the neighborhood, tires sliding in the muck. I tore the front grill off my car driving over a tree. There was some guy, dirty face under the brim of a cheap blue and white mesh-back. He pulled a cigarette from his mouth and hurled me, cherry exploding in a shower of sparks as it bounced off my windshield. His arms flailed, mouth making shapes I knew were shouts. Anger, loss. I still have no idea why.

It’s been one year, twenty-two days, one hour and forty-two minutes since I pulled up in the driveway and saw my wife and daughter alive. They weathered the storm together in a closet. I didn’t notice until hours later that the houses at the end of the street were gone. Piles of splintered lumber, brick and memories 50 maybe 60 feet away from where our house still stood. Beaten, covered in debris, full of holes, but standing.

It’s been long enough now that people no longer ask me how I feel about it. Believe me, it’s a blessing. I’m not sure that what I feel about it has a name. Just a jumble of memories that get hazier every day, leaving behind this vague angst coupled with a soft dread as I spend the evening waiting for the sirens to go off again. Some sadness there too, guilt for friends we lost to the storm.

I would never have said any of this spare in free-writing. These thoughts they’re small things.  I’m not hurt. I’m not damaged. I don’t need a shoulder to cry on. I don’t need comfort or sorrow or pity or anything else, really.

Anniversaries are a weird thing. I think this post has been stuck in my head since then.

I guess I’m just standing in the shadow a catastrophe. It’ll pass.

So Yeah, There Was This Tornado

Uh, yeah, seriously. A Tornado. Two of them, if you want to get technical.

I know it was two months ago, but I’m just now approaching normal. Granted, my normal is a pretty fluid place found somewhere between psychotic and passive aggressive but I can almost see it from here.

Yeah, I’m OK — or did you think I was posting this from the great beyond? Just to get it out of the way: Wife and Daughter are unhurt (Son lives with his mom in another city).

I weathered the thing at the underpass at I-35 and Indian Hills Road trapped in between 3 tractor trailers while the thing passed in front of us. It was the most terrifying 10 minutes of my life. Not the tornado, mind you. Not knowing if the thing it my house where my wife and daughter were crouched inside of a closet. The 10 minutes were spent trapped there, trying to get around the semi’s while staring at the last text from my wife before it hit, sending text after text to her in hopes she would respond.

Insane. That’s the only word for it.

I don’t want to whine about it or give you the whole “woe is me” bullshit — There are a great number of people much worse off than I am and I feel for them. My life is a bowl of friggin’ kittens compared to some people. I can’t imagine being a husband left to raise a child on his own while morning another. Those people need your support, not me, so, um, uh. Huh?

Crap, I had a point in there somewhere.

The point is that after 3 weeks in a dorm room ( thanks for the place to shack up, University of Oklahoma ), a month of limbo and fighting with insurance and mortgage companies, and a month of seedy, irresponsible and just plain MIA contractors, my brain is beginning to work again. That translates to me starting to write, trying to remember where the hell I was on building the sandbox, reviewing the code on the TRPG game and finding it lacking for the directions I need, and starting to try to be social again.

I’ve still got a ton of work to do before my home is back to normal, but if I have time where I’m not building stuff for my employer, repairing the house, supervising contractors or playing with the family, I’ll be on projects again.