What We Lost in the Hurricane This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 17, 2017
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No one was prepared. Gathering as much canned food or bottled water would do for only a fraction of what we were yet to know. I would’ve have never predicted how different our lives would become, for I was ignorant on the cause. I guess I had a certain hope lying inside that my beautiful island would withhold. No one knew what would await us.

I consider myself lucky, if luck means less unfortunate, on the fact that I sleep on my roof every night and that I watched a beast from my kitchen’s window. I did not know then that as I heard the shrieking voice of the unmerciful wind blowing hard on our home, I was a part of those “lucky” ones who would still have one. I did not know, as I looked on the revengeful rain, of the many tales being written on that moment. How many people stood behind doors, their lives against nature, to protect their loving fortress. Or how many had to flee in the midst of chaos and destruction as their homes became history covered in water. Or how the idea of safety, for some, was attainable by risking their lives. Yet there is still much from which I am ignorant even now, and so many stories beyond which I would ever imagine.

Some say it entered as category 5, others say 4, but to us “lucky” folks it hit as if it was 10. From our window we could see the persevered pines of our neighbors giving their fight, but falling nevertheless, victim to a harsher blow of nature. If only fallen pines were our biggest worry, I wouldn’t be sitting here with a flashlight three months later writing about such an event.

All around me I could hear the whistling sounds of the wind blowing hard, creeping upon anything it set its mind to destroy. It was a dark day since the early morning as power bade its long farewell upon my house and my beautiful island. But it was yet to become a dark day in our history.

Sometime around the afternoon, all chaos ceased only to catch its breath, while we opened the doors to see a glimpse of its aftermath. It was nothing then, just a couple of branches and trees from what my eyes could see. A short time after, the revengeful nature came back for anything it might’ve missed on the first trial. Now the powerful winds attacked from the left side, never stopping for a break until I woke up the next day of September 21st.

I was in a capsule hidden from reality, my only view being fallen pines and front gates. It was when we first got into the car and rode through the streets that I came to the sad realization; the Puerto Rico I knew, my Puerto Rico, was not the same.

The moment we came onto the road for the first time was when we truly grasped the idea of what had happened. Everything that had once been straight was all struck down. Every electricity post on the floor with its wires tangled up, either kissing the roads, or strangling whichever house it fell upon. The biggest of trees all pulled from their roots and into the streets and houses. With hardly one withstanding house made out of wood as most were separated from their roofs. And certain streets with no way out as the flood covered its entrance.

It was all an event; the everlasting stain of such a devastating hurricane. The car ride was the slowest I have ever had and the views from my window, a hurtful scene. Even still it wasn’t the torn homes and streets that hurt the most, but what stood behind every single one. The new mission was not only restoring our beautiful island itself but igniting the flickering hope of every being that had for years tried to lift it up and was now caught up in a deep nostalgic abyss.

The events of a single day will mark us for years to come, but there is no room for constant weeping. When a country needs rebuilding, people need to step up and assume the job, for this is only the very start of a long journey to come.

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