Where the Storm Takes Us


The weather alert was going off on the tv, scrolling across the bottom of the screen with an imminent threat of the worst kind of storm.  Meteorologists were reporting with that slightly crazed, almost giddy look in their eyes, that this Behemoth would hit us directly.

My first instinct was to pack up the car and leave Houston, for the most logical place, my hometown.  But things had changed lately, and Dallas wasn’t the go-to stronghold it had always been for me.  Mom and I had not spoken in weeks since our falling out.  Dad was no longer alive to play the peacemaker.
The storm heading our way was national news, and I was surprised and disappointed that she had not broken her silent treatment to reach out to me.  Apparently, years of peaceful co-existence can easily be cancelled out by a few moments of heated exchange. 
With Dallas out of the question, we decided on the closest evacuation point: the in-laws place about forty-five miles northwest of town. Once there, the storm raged at us, with only a seemingly thin barrier of plaster walls between me and total destruction.  Rows of looming high windows offered scenic views on happier days, but at this moment, resembled giant death traps.
As this freight train of a storm barreled towards us, my dear ones slept, snug in their beds.  How could they possibly sleep through this?  The sound of tree limbs scraping against the bedroom window felt like long fingertips threatening to scratch through the glass and choke us.  The noise was deafening.
As I burrowed under a blanket next to my daughter, I cursed the day I moved to Houston, where people proudly wore hurricane survival stories like patches on a Girl Scout vest.  I passed the hours of the night dozing, crying and praying.
The next morning, the sun rose over the lake, as if nothing had happened.  A blanket of limbs and debris stretched as far as the eye could see.  No water or electricity. I began to plot my escape. The things we so easily take for granted, once ripped away, become the essence of life. 
And I would travel to the ends of the earth, or at least Texas, to find them.
After a brief stay with a friend, my young daughter was out-of-sorts, and I knew she needed the comfort of family.  So we made the trek from the People’s Republic of Austin up to the McMansion flatlands of suburban Plano to my brother's house.
Mom and I civilly arranged for my daughter to visit her for the day.  As I pulled up to my childhood home, the home where I no longer felt welcome, my insides churned with the discomfort of impending confrontation.
But she opened the door and gave me a smile.  A weak smile, but a smile, nonetheless.  I grabbed her and held her tightly.  I needed my mother.  And it took a hurricane to bring us back together.
read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Learning and growing with Yeah Write's Summer Series.

Comments

  1. Terrifying experiences like that when we realize all we might lose really have a way of bringing on forgiveness and acceptance don't they?

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    1. Yep, natural disasters can really put things in perspective! Thanks for reading, Robbie.

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  2. I hope that you have worked things out with your mom -- I'm sure she was glad you needed her then. Weather can be terrifying...

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    1. Yes, it's all good now! One of those hiccups of life.

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  3. Beautiful writing. I especially loved your line "where people proudly wore hurricane survival stories like patches on a Girl Scout vest." I am from Kansas and I hate, HATE tornadoes. It's sad when it takes trauma to reunite us with family, but at least there's a conduit available.

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    1. Thank you! HATE tornadoes, too. Had several of those growing up in Dallas, but not as many as you poor folks in Kansas.

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  4. So beautiful and powerful! Your description of your stomach churning at the thought of confrontation is SO SPOT ON. I have felt that more times than I can count (usually with my mother, too!). The worst is waking up and thinking that all is OK for a split second and then reality sinks you like a brick. I hope you are on the road to healing with your mom.

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    1. Thank you, Melisa! Mom and I are good now. There's still a little stomach churning that goes on from time to time, not unlinke many mother-daughter relationships.

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  5. Gorgeous. I had a tear roll down. I am so glad you are ok and that your mother and you made up.

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    1. Thanks, Carrie. Fences have been mended, and it all started that day. So, although the hurricane was a horrible experience, I am thankful for that aspect of it.

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  6. Oh Jenny, you make grown men teary-eyed.

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    1. I'll try & write something humorous next time for you, Eric :)

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  7. Sometimes it takes the strangest things to bring people together. I hope that you and your mom have reconciled.

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    1. Yep, we're good now! :) Thanks for reading.

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  8. No matter what age we are we always need our mom's when things and life is hard.

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  9. I love this story. So happy to hear that you and your mother have reconciled, despite the circumstances that brought you back together.

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  10. Anyone with a Mom can relate. So much love and annoyance wrapped into one too-tight package. The People's Republic of Austin?! Bwahaha! I used to be a storm chaser. I can totally relate to that giddy glee of an impending storm.

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    1. "The People's Republic of Austin" is a phrase that's been floating around for awhile and was recently made more familiar by its use in the hilarious black comedy "Bernie". If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend!

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  11. No one can drive you more crazy than your mother. Now that mine is gone, I miss even all the irritating things that we used to fight about! We always made up, too :)

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    1. I'm sorry your mother is gone...I know I will miss even the annoying things about mine, too! Thanks for reading.

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  12. Oh wow. Your reaching out to her at the end was so unexpected and perfect. I'm so glad you didn't lose her (emotionally) in the storm.

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    1. Me too, thank you! I hadn't planned on doing it, but it felt right!

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  13. My relationship with my mom feels emotionally complicated, yet I know she would be there for me in a heartbeat, no matter what. Scary to think of the time when I won't have that. Loved this story and that you grabbed you mom in a hug at the end! Well done!

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    1. I know, I don't know what I'll do when she's not around to torment me :)

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  14. Ooh, very cool (but not cool) story!

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  15. I love extreme, violent weather. Hurricanes fascinate me; I've been through a few. No tornadoes - yet.

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    1. You sound like my Dad, Joe. He used to stand on the porch and watch the tornado coming until we forced him in the house!

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  16. Good Job Dear! i enjoyed seeing it,

    Mwaks!


    If you have a minute, please check out my blog and follow me if you liked it. I'll appreciate it so much! Thanks!


    Blow a Rainbow

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  17. You gave me the chills on this one. And maybe a couple tears at the end. Excellent.

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  18. What a great story!
    There were a lot of different emotions in it, and lots of great descriptions! It especially liked "The sound of tree limbs scraping against the bedroom window felt like long fingertips threatening to scratch through the glass and choke us."
    Awesome job.

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