When Blue Skies Turn to Grey

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Sitting at the round swan table in the middle of the living room on August 27th 2005, I carefully blew on my freshly made spinach lasagna to cool it down. I talked with my dad and mom about how much homework Mrs. Prado had pounded on me the day before while my brother gawked at his Brother Martin senior ring that he received 3 days before. The aroma of the lasagna enveloped me because it had been the first time my mom had made this mouth-watering meal. As I went into the kitchen to get a fork, I looked out the window. Clear. Blue skies. I then heard the voice of Bob Breck on the kitchen TV echoed in the room as he explained the imminent threat of a certain Hurricane Katrina. “Oh, not again. When are these people going to learn that they scare us to death every year and nothing ever happens. No matter what, I’m not leaving this time,” Mom said.

“Do you think we’ll have school on Monday?” I asked.

“If you’re lucky,” Mom replied.

As we finished our dinner that night, I was oblivious to the fact that this simple warning that Bob Breck made, would change my family and my life forever.

On the morning of August 28th, 2005, I awoke to my Dad launching every important paper in my room into his briefcase. I was startled by the rush, seeing that my Dad is a very relaxed person. “Amber, pack up. We have to head out. This thing is going to be bad.” The sound of the click of the door as it was locked for the final time permeates my head like the ringing of a siren. Down the sidewalk in front of my home, I walked for eternity, the car seeming to never come in sight. As I rounded the corner to the driveway, I took a deep breath, gave my home a final look, and thought about how I just wanted to stay home. As I stepped into the car, I longed for my feet to never hit the floor. I just wanted them to sink through the floor of the car, leaving me there with my home. I will never forget the day I placed myself in the car and said goodbye to the life that I knew and loved forever. As I left my home, the walls of the car seemed to close in on me, shunning me from the rest of the world.

Traveling from over 2 hours away, I returned to a shack, a ghost of my old home, on September 16th, 2005. As I got out of the car, I heard crunches below my feet from dried leaves being stepped on. As I looked around, an eerie feeling overtook me. I felt as if God had taken a paintbrush and painted my life grey. Grey street. Grey house. Grey trees. Grey grass. Everything had its life taken from it. I felt as if part of me had been stolen too, never to be returned again. As I walked into my house, it looked as if a blender had shattered and thrown everything into a whirlwind of anger. As I looked around at my mom, dad, and brother, with beads of sweat on their faces from the heat, I realized that the destroyed house was not what I was angry about. It was the love and the passion inside this house that I will never forget. It wasn’t the four walls of the house that made it special; it was everything else between them that made it one of a kind.

August 11th, 2008, the final closing of my new house after the monster took my home away. I sit in my house looking at the foreign walls, wondering why it is not the same. I come to realize, it’s not the house itself that becomes a home; it’s the people inside it that make it a home. Although I have not come to terms with eating spinach lasagna again since it brings back putrid memories, I sit at the round table in the kitchen eating spaghetti with my family, reminiscing over our journey together through the past three years. Everything happens for a reason. The reason for the destruction of my home? I can’t exactly tell you, but it was for the better. It has made my family stronger and has given new light to my life. For now, my family and I are laughing as we rebuild our new four walls into a home.





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