The Flood

November 21, 2016

Grey. The once yellow glow of Mississippi was now grey. The once beaming green in a child’s eye was now grey. Filthy, brown water rushed the streets. Waves upon waves of it kept on flowing. It didn’t stop. I had seen things like this in movies before; however, this was different. It felt as if I would wake up from a nightmare, safely lying in my bed; with the only water present that of the anxious sweat on my forehead. This was not the case.
            After the initial shock, my senses started to kick in. I was okay. I was confused, but I was okay. I heard crying, groans of pain, and above all I heard the sheer panic in the voices of the people as they called out the names of loved ones in the distance. I saw the grey sky spinning above me. I felt as if I was on a boat, drifting along the ocean. In this precise moment of realization, my body took control of my mind, and I was fleeing from the porch that was being whisked away. My legs stopped moving beneath me, and I was stranded on top of a pile of rubbish. Thirty minutes prior, this rubbish was the framework of someone’s home.
            Both full and partial houses were swept from their moorings, with families still clinging to their homes. Despite the children screaming as their house came to life and helpless neighbors begging them to jump, I understood this. Each one held a unique story, and the memories inside were irreplaceable. Pictures of family on the walls and beds and kitchen tables and couches all became useless in a matter of minutes. These too, were now grey. As this house got further away, I witnessed a dog leap off the porch and plunge into the water; then, paralyzed by the current, was out of sight. I needed to get out of here.
            Roaring above, helicopters threw down baskets to save the children first. I could only imagine what they witnessed. From above, they must have seen the massive path of destruction in the streets that the ruthless current left behind.
            I needed to move. I didn’t know what my first move should have been because there were people everywhere. Reporters, rescue squads, and families with nowhere to go raided the streets. As I got further into the center of the town, I saw that shop owners abandoned their stores, partly because there was nothing left to own. What was left behind was looted through the broken glass doors by desperate people. They fought over the last cans of food, and then discretely slipped out to bring the food to their starving, cold family among the shadows. It was impossible for me to get a hand on any because it was everyone for themselves.
            Throughout town, I heard word that buildings were being designated all throughout the northwest area of the state as safe houses, because the conditions were worsening. Pick up trucks were being piled high with the few belongings that the family still possessed. Buses came through the towns to pick up those with nothing left. These buses made countless trips.
            Due to the worsening conditions, it came down to the last bus load of people allowed to be transported because it was beginning to be too dangerous. I had gotten a seat towards the front, and had no belongings with me. We only had a small window of time to make it all the way across the state before we were swallowed by the waters. As we began to take off, a man ran behind screaming for it to stop. The young man climbed up the stairs, and I saw he had a bundle of blankets in his arms. As he got closer, I realized that it was a baby girl. She was as white as a ghost, and seemed weak. Behind the man, a scared little boy followed holding onto the bottom of his jacket with his head down. The boy took the seat in front of me, as the man went further back to search for an opening. As we drove, we had to maneuver around the roads, avoiding the sofas and remains of furniture piled up. We turned, and there was a telephone pole lying in the middle of the highway. As the driver was backing up, the little boy began to cry.
            I attempted to comfort him, but I had no idea where we were going. All I knew was that anywhere would be better than where we were.
            I am not scared for myself, he said, but only the little sister. She was very sick, and he feared she would not get better.
             I looked into his desperate green eyes, and said everything would work out just fine.
            The winds began to pick up again, with speeds roaring to 115 mph. The metal bus began to shake, which forced us to pull over. The sides of the road were too low, and I knew that if we did not move out fast that we would be taken with the current.
            As we reached our destination, a sense of relief filled the air. None of us knew where we were, but we saw that it was dry. The instant the bus door opened, a pungent smell hit my nose. The extent of this terrible smell caused me to believe that we were about to walk into a sewage system building.
            I was astonished. Inside the building, it looked like a post war first aid center. In the warehouse, hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people laid on plastic tables waiting for the volunteer doctors and nurses to come. I had no idea how many people were really affected by the flood, until I saw this. The grey faces of heartbroken families have impacted me forever. I looked to my right at the scene being created, and was relieved to see the urgency of which the baby girl was being treated with.
            The two boys sat anxiously holding their sister as she slept soundly. The older one gave the younger brother the food that he was served, then fell asleep bundled together.
            Throughout these days, everything seemed grey. However, the one color that stayed alive was the red of the love flowing in the blood of every survivor. I was lucky to be alive, and I witnessed society become stronger as a whole. We were to build back up from nothing, but we were capable of doing it.

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