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3 Days This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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I stepped out of the car onto the dry sand, which appeared to be the only dry thing around. I could still hear the ocean waves crashing on the beach with the gulls crying and the smell and taste of the salt air, but nothing else seemed normal. “Wow” was the only word I could mutter as I looked around. Even though many houses were still sitting gloomily on their stilts, ours was gone. Even though I knew, I asked, “Where is our home?” As I said this my eyes started filling with tears. “Washed away” my mother said, quieter than a church mouse. Everything was quiet, contrary to before. There was no laughing, no talking, and the silence that comes before and after a storm choked me.

It all came back quickly, with the pain that comes in your throat as you start to cry. The rushing wind, pouring rain, and pounding thunder. They were all working together to deafen me from the words of my family as we hid. Even though we were a safe distance from the worst of the hurricane, the edge is enough to scare us all into heartbreak. My mother quietly whispered into my little sister’s ear, words of encouragement and peace. Even though my heart wanted to listen to those words, my mind wouldn’t let me. All my mind would let me hear was the thunder and wind. My Father was pacing off to the side of the room, and I wondered how much better that made him feel, pacing back and forth like a caged animal. Although, I thought, there is a
good chance that he is feeling better than I’m feeling at the moment, sitting in a corner, right next to my little brother. I wonder how he’s feeling, I thought, because he almost looks as if he wants to cry, but can’t for some reason. Oh, yeah, he’s a boy, he can’t cry if he wants to, I remembered.
At least in a situation like this it’s good to be a girl, I thought, at least I can cry. We were there for what felt like hours, whether or not it was hours, you would have to find out from another source. Finally my aunt came into the room with a single word, “Dinner”. “Can people actually eat right now, when their whole future depends on the weather?” I pondered as I followed everyone into the kitchen. “Well, I guess there isn’t any harm in trying to eat, the worst that could happen is I throw up, and it’s possible that may get rid of the bottomless feeling my stomach has at the moment” I speculated to myself. I guess everyday life can’t stop for these types of things, even if they are going to change your life, I thought.

After dinner we left my aunt’s house and went to the hotel and checked in for the night. We all plopped right down onto the beds, but no one fell asleep. We all knew it. All I could think about as I was laying there was the horrible day I was going to have the next day. As if this hasn’t been enough, I thought, as I finally fell asleep. Waking the next morning to the shower surprised me and when I sat up and saw the bed I was amazed. “I actually fell asleep” I exclaimed, a little too joyfully for the present circumstances. My father answered “Yes, and I believe you were the first one.” Unexpectedly a smile came over my face and I didn’t want it to stop, but the next thing my father said stopped it easily. “We’re going back tomorrow, that’s the soonest they’ll let anyone near the city” he said slowly. “Oh, okay” I replied gloomily, thinking that I never wanted to go through the pain of seeing my house and neighborhood torn apart by the sea. “I waited for you to wake up to go to breakfast, so whenever you’re ready we can head
on down to join everyone” my dad said, then he lifted the newspaper up and acted as if no one was there. “Kay” I quietly replied as I climbed out of the bed and walked into the bathroom. The rest of the day went by rather quickly, as time always seems to do just when you want time to
slow down. We went and got food, stopped by a bank, visited my aunt, and got some new clothes. We were back at the hotel and ready to sleep before I was ready to go to bed.

The next day I was the first one to wake up, and I slipped down to breakfast without anyone noticing. No one was in the dining room either, s I ate quickly and went back to my room to read for a while. When I got back, everyone was still asleep. After everyone had finally wakened up and eaten, we packed up and went home. After my initial reaction upon arrival I started crying and running away, away from my family who could see me crying, and from the site of my former home and possessions. Everything that meant anything to me was in that house, save the few items I grabbed as I was leaving. My photos, my diaries, the gifts I had gotten from my grandparents who passed on, everything. Then as I was running I stopped, almost as quickly as my heart did. I had arrived where I was running to, without even knowing where I had been going. The place where my best friend in the world had lived, the one person I told everything. And her house was gone too; there was only one difference in our situations. Her family didn’t leave their house. They had wanted to wait out the storm, she had told me that as I left. I knew that her family would have done that even if she hadn’t told me, they had always said that was what they would do. Now, because of their stupidity and laziness I had lost the person I cared about most. My tears immediately stopped. Anger didn’t fill my mind, nor did sadness. I walked slowly back to my family, my body carefully measuring out each step, I’m not sure why. Everything suddenly seemed very mathematical and scientific, as if there were no more feelings in the world.

When I got back I heard my Mom talking about plans to rebuild. I knew that everything with my house and family was going to be alright, and I had already mentally constructed a memorial for Emily, so all I could do was think. I forced myself to see the people that were
coming to help us and the bright light the sun was bringing. I forced myself to see hope in every movement, to hear it in every word. Hoping was the only thing my heart would let me do, and my mind knew it was the only thing I could do, so I stopped thinking, and just let everyone else tell me what to do, except for one thing, my hope.





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