I’m a little too used to trauma ripping my world apart. But sometimes, things are too close for comfort and there’s little that can be done.
Let me tell you about the last week and a half of my life.
12:25 p.m., Monday, August 10th. The day is… a Monday. Normal. Quiet. Just waking, content in bed, ready for another day of work.
Clouds roll in.
We didn’t even know it was gonna rain. But we don’t mind it, hey, rain happens, meteorology is wrong kinda often.
12:30 p.m., rain is literally BEATING the windows. We get up, decide to let our older cat in the room that hates storms.
We’re confused. This storm seems TOO wild.
12:36 p.m. Something literally crashes into our window and breaks it.
“Aw shit, is management gonna blame US for that now?”
12:38 p.m. The entire bedroom flies apart. Quickly. Suddenly. We scramble to get the cats, and our oldest runs off and hides because he’s terrified.
12:39 p.m. Panic hits incredibly fast. Stuff is flying everywhere. Things are getting soaked beyond compare.
12:41 p.m. The living room breaks apart. Things are flipping over. We realize we’re going to be stuck if we don’t get at least a little below ground.
We rush to the lower stairs of our apartment (it was essentially an upper room-like structure, with one apartment under us), and pin back the door with our bodies, our kitten in the only box that was mostly stable enough to hide him in.
12:57 p.m., the storm isn’t slowing.
We call the cops, scared, trapped, feeling scared that if the door flies open, it means that we’d die. They do nothing but yell to my roommate and tell him to stay calm, hang up on him.
At this point, I’m in hysterics. Terrified. Sobbing. Wanting to go look for my cat.
We lost hope.
At one point, my roommate opens the door and is bashed in the head because of the wind force. 120 mph. To the face.
1:10 p.m., FINALLY we find some hope again. Someone is outside yelling, asking if anyone is around, needs help. My roommate peeks out a little. Two maintenence workers in our building area, searching for people. They take us to one of the only safe building numbers, about a foot down.
My roommate tells me to stay there with our kitten while he tries to go back and find our cat. And I sit in a small closet. Traumatized. Horrified. My entire house just blew apart from around me. All of my things are gone. The normalcy of my life, ripped away from around me, like shreds of paper.
1:35 p.m. My roommate finally comes back and joins me. And he didn’t find the cat. I realize my phone is lost at this point.
I hate August. I hate it. I hate everything about it, that much more.
Nearly 2:00 p.m. We are driven to management. We’re stuck there for about twenty minutes, and friends start reaching out. Family start reaching out to my roommate, who happened to post on Facebook that we were now homeless. No structuring left. At all. I try to reach out to my boyfriend through his phone. No good. [I got to him later though.]
2:20 p.m. With friends on the way to come help us and make sure we’re safe, the storm starting to die, we go to the apartment remains and thankfully manage to find our cat hiding under what’s left of our couch, completely unharmed.
3 to 8 p.m., we are SCRAPPING for belongings. And the worst things? People stealing things. Literally stealing things. OUR things, at that. Stopping on the road or in traffic to take pictures. Barely ANYONE that walks by offers to help.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t know if I wanted to be alive during it all. I didn’t.
And even now, I think back on it, torn apart. I’ve had nothing before. But never to this extreme.
And there’s more people out there like me. Worse than me.
And you know what? It didn’t get coverage until FOUR DAYS LATER. My town, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was practically destroyed. And few people reached out.
But today, I still live. And I want to make use of that. Somehow.