Author’s note: This is the first, maybe only story, of my experience during Hurricane Harvey. It’s honestly the most important part of those days to me. I tried to incorporate this into the larger story of those few days but it just wouldn’t fit. So, I pulled it out as its own piece.
Seven years ago, I was on a bus when my sister called. She called to let me know she was moving out of our apartment (abandoning me). The rent was half paid, light bill past due, and she emptied the kitchen. We had been living together for nine years. We had moved five times together. Then she moved without me. I didn’t like that she abandoned me. But I couldn’t hate her. She was my sister.
I stayed in that apartment for another month and a half. The light got turned off, mosquitoes ate me in my sleep, a cold front nearly froze me. I made do with a small lantern to push back the dark and a radio to dispel the silence at night.
I stayed with friends for a little while then moved into an efficiency apartment. I lived alone for the first time in nine years. A friend introduced me to her friend who needed a roommate.
Six years later, now, Hurricane Harvey hit my city. My roommate left the city. She offered to take me with her when she left. I stayed. After the hurricane had passed, when the light was still off, I found the lantern and radio in my closet. I turned them on at night and for a brief moment I was alone in that apartment again. Abandoned, discarded, useless. But I wasn’t. I stayed (I wasn’t abandoned) because (I don’t want to be a burden)(She doesn’t really want me to go with her)(I deserve to stay) I …
I wasn’t abandoned. Everyday she sent messages asking if I was ok. She told me to drink the case of water she had bought before she left. She reminded me of the small grill she had in case I had to boil water. When she came back, she said I was never staying behind again because she worried too much.
The situations aren’t the same but a wound I didn’t know I was carrying is starting to mend.