Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hurricane Season

Hurricane season. Here in Central Florida, where hurricanes never hit, it's a phrase that provokes yawns and perhaps some gloating over the coastal inhabitants who routinely are evacuated to the general environs of the Happiest Place on Earth.

Until I moved here and my life fell apart.

For more than forty years, no hurricane had traversed either I4 or the Turnpike, but that year, the year I realized my carefully constructed world had crumbled, a Class 4 hurricane flew right up I4, detoured onto 417 East and blew the roofs off homes within an eight-mile radius of the house I lived in. Not my home, not even my house, but merely "the house I lived in" and please don't argue semantics with me. Please.

All around, there were trees uprooted, power lines down, pool screens adrift like giant dragonflies, buildings turned to rubble and the house I lived in, that despised place which had seen the apocalypse, that place built to the latest hurricane code, circa 1998 post Andrew, even that new construction sitting in the eye of the storm, suffered obvious damage.

Let's not discuss the damage inside, which was just that, inside and invisible. But the external, well, there is no such thing as coincidence.

The walls separated from the floor, the house tried to rip itself off its moorings, disown the earth, and join the merry mishmash spinning skyward. The northeast corner of the house flooded, water seeping, flowing, gushing as the crack grew.

That corner? The master bedroom suite sits in that corner, the northeast corner.

It flooded and became unusable, which was fine, as it hadn't been used for anything except fitful sleeping, hugging the far side of the bed, as far away from possible accidental contact with anyone else who might be there as possible. The only lovemaking in that bed was between me and fear.

Hurricane season spun me around and spat me out the other side.

For which I am grateful.

Because years later, during another hurricane season when there were no hurricanes but only a symphony of tropical storms and lightening strikes, so much wet in that not-hurricane season, I found myself in a new home with a bedroom in the southwest corner, facing rosy coral sunsets, a room which seems destined for everything except sleep, a room where the torrid nights are inspired by the maelstrom outside and not the other way around.

I rejoice in that room which keeps me close, encourages me to dance in the rains, the same rains which poured down my prison bars years earlier and then blew them apart. I stand outside, now, stand there in the downpour, counting the seconds of the flash, wondering what this year will bring.

I'm not afraid now.

I'll never be afraid again.

Hurricane season: it destroys. And I rebuild.

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