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Battering Emotional Coasts This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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No one could have been prepared for the wrath of the storm. Some took cover in their houses, while others evacuated to family and friends' homes in non-flood zones. The minute you locked your door behind you, you left your home vulnerable to all kinds of destruction from looters to flooding. No one knew what to expect when they ­returned, including my family.

My mother, brother and I have lived in Long Beach for a few years. We evacuated during Hurricane Irene a year ago. We returned to no damage and were, of course, extremely grateful. So when talk of Hurricane Sandy arose, we were convinced that we would remain in our home, hunker down and wait it out. We bought all kinds of supplies from batteries to food. We had enough to last a few days without power.

The hours prior to the storm were scary and nerve-racking. We heard the wind whipping and saw news vans filling the streets by our boardwalk. A last-minute text from a family friend urging us to leave finally made us pack whatever we could grab in ten minutes and get out. We locked up our house for what we feared could be the last time. We went to our family's house in Oceanside once again and waited out the storm.

After many powerless days there, we were finally allowed to re-enter Long Beach. We had no idea what we would find. Driving through the streets was heartbreaking. The news didn't do justice to the ­extent of the damage. Piles of sand seven feet high filled the streets along with even higher piles of ­people's belongings, their lives, all waterlogged.

Tears filled our eyes seeing our town in such utter destruction. Our hearts broke further as we drove down our block. We parked in the middle of the street because the garbage had begun to spill onto the road. We got out and the smell hit us immediately. The combination of gas, saltwater and sewage was ­overwhelming. We had to force our swollen, water-­ruined front door open only to find mud an inch thick coating the floor and a water line two feet up on the walls.

As we walked through the house, the sight overwhelmed all of us. Our furniture was soaked and if any of it was not directly ­affected by the water, it had that potent smell. I paused in front of my bedroom door. I had to throw all of my weight against it to make it open. I walked in only to realize it was a lost cause. The water had gotten into all my lower drawers and shelves which then soaked into everything else. Everything was ruined; the house was inhabitable. We were homeless.

Sandy, a storm not even classified as a hurricane when it hit, forever changed my life. Its winds and record storm surges tore the East Coast to pieces. Power, homes and lives were lost in its wake. The rebuilding of many coastal towns is underway and could take years. And as for the survivors of the storm, life will never be the same.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Kelly's Boyfriend said...
Nov. 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm
i love you
 
Zee.100 said...
Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm
Stay strong, you'v got everyones prayers
 
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