At first, I thought the current had pushed me into what appeared to be a tree, then I realized it wasn't just any tree.
Tonight was like every other night here in Willows. The sky weeps away every last piece of hope. Water accumulates in the gutter above our old cracker house in Maple Street.
Today is April 13, 1972. Today, sixteen years ago was the day I was brought into this world, it was the day my mom went to a better place. I was up in my room doing what I do every night, boarding up the windows and praying for the storm to be as mild as possible. I could feel the humid air filling up my lungs as I walked down the old wretched wooden planks we call stairs.
“Maggie, the storm is coming, are all the windows boarded up?”
“Yes dad, as usual.”
We moved to Willows about eight years ago. My dad heard a story about the conquistadors founding a small town named Willows after a giant willow tree found deep within the nearby forest . My dad thought it would be a nice place to let go and forget the past. He couldn't have been more wrong. This place might just be the saddest place on earth. There are barely any houses, let alone any jobs. Everyday day is the same, we get up at the sight of the sun rising from the mountains. We go outside, I clean up the mess from the storm, while my dad replants the few crops that are left standing. Soon after that my dad goes back inside to hear the weather report and to make our breakfast, while I take my daily stroll around the nearby woods, trying to find the willow tree. After a while, I start heading back. I walk inside the house and sit down on a old hard wooden chair, quietly I eat my breakfast. Then I sit outside on the porch staring at the old Maple Street sign waiting for something interesting to happen. Nothing ever happens. When the sun starts setting and night falls, I walk back inside. My dad starts making dinner, while I go up stairs and border up the windows. Then we fall in our beds waiting for the storm to pass. The next day it's the same thing all over again. Today was going to be the same, or so I thought.
I wake up to the sound of crying clouds. “This is peculiar, usually the storm flees overnight.”
“Maggie, come down here!”
The blood flowing through my veins suddenly went cold. My dad hasn't seemed this worried since the day my mom died. “Is everything ok down there?” A sudden chill filled up my room. I hurried down stairs. As I walked down I felt my face turn pale. The storm had taken almost half of our house with it.
“Maggie, are you hurt?”
“Dad, your leg is bleeding!” It didn’t even take me a second to run upstairs and grab some bandages and run downstairs again. “Here, let me get that”.
“I can handle this. Go make sure the neighbors are ok, and take some bandages just in case.”
I snatched the plastic bag I found floating in the water on the kitchen floor and filled it up with some bandages. I made my way past the tears of the gods that were currently flooding Maple Street. I knocked on what seemed to be the remains of my neighbor's cracked wooden door. All I could hear were loud sobs coming from the other side.
“It’s me, Maggie your next door neighbor.” Before she even got a chance to respond, I heard cries for help coming from behind me.
“Please! help me, I can't swim!”
The torn plastic bag in my hand got blown away. Without hesitating I quickly jumped in the river and swam towards the little boy crying for help. I gripped his hand as hard as I could and tried to swim back to safety. Out of nowhere a enormous branch hits my head and leaves me barely conscious. I could feel my heart racing to a stop, bloody tears start streaming down my face. My life flashed before my eyes. I became too weak to push myself out of the current, I continued to float away. Night was approaching and it become harder for me to keep my eyes open. All I could see where trees and more trees, I knew the current had taken me deep within the forest.
Suddenly the horrible pain increased. I placed my hand on the back of my head, all I could see was red dense water surrounding me. I looked up, at first, I thought the current had pushed me into what appeared to be a tree, then I realized it wasn't just any tree. At last I had seen the great willow tree, I just prayed for it to not be last thing I see. The water felt colder by the second, I could feel my limbs going numb. As my eyes closed I saw a light that could blind you on sight. I felt a warm hand on my shoulder, as I looked back I saw the unimaginable. For the first time ever I got to see my mom's face.
A few days later my body was found lying next to the Willow tree. We miss him so much, me and my mom, but we look over him. Ever since the day my dad lost the only thing he had to live for life, he has gone to the willow tree every morning, and he weeps away the sorrow buried deep within. We try so hard to stay content, because we know one day will see him again.