Dylan Troost Anna Bigtha Paper 3 Draft 3 On the Go
There I was, just standing in front of what used to be my home. It was all in
ruins. Everything I had growing up as a child was scattered and full of mold. Where was I to start? What was I to do? “Dad! What do we do first? Everything is all messed up!” My dad responded, “Just start digging, and see if you can find anything that we can salvage.” There was nothing. Everything had just been sitting in water for days. What were we supposed to do?
A month earlier we were at the skating rink for my eleventh birthday when
all of a sudden my mom went up to my dad and started whispering something. I went and listened in. “Joe, we have to evacuate, the storm is getting worse.” “When?” “Within the next two days, it’s supposed to hit land on Monday.” Earlier that day as I was getting ready for my birthday party I was watching the news. There was a tropical storm in the gulf. I knew as my mom said it had gotten worse that we were going to have to leave. That night we packed everything we could into the car and got on the road, an entire day and a half of just sitting in the car, annoying the hell out of each other. It was my brother Nick, my mom, my dad,
all in one car with me. We were amongst about forty thousand other people all going the same way. We were headed to Abbeville, Louisiana. My Uncle Rob and Aunt Pat lived there in this incredible three story house that overlooked a park.
We arrived and they greeted us with open arms. Or so we thought. At one
point I sat on a couch that had been plastic wrapped so tight that when you sat down it sounded like some sort of animal was screeching. “Oh no Daniel you can’t sit there” said my aunt. “Why not?” “That couch is from Paris, no one is allowed to sit on it.” So I moved to the floor. Moments later her dog jumped on the couch and laid down. I made a face at my aunt and she went and sat with the dog. My uncle brought my mom and dad a glass of wine and as soon as they sat down my aunt said, “We booked you guys a hotel room down the street, I hope you don’t mind.” All of our faces dropped.
Next thing you know we are checking into the Motel Six thirty five minutes
from the house. We went into the room and it smelt like cigarettes. We asked for a new room and they said they had none available. There were two beds. My mom and dad slept in one and my brother slept in the other. I was forced to sleep on the floor with a pillow. I couldn’t sleep the entire night. It was around three am when all of the sudden we were awoken by this strange loud noise. It sounded like a gunshot. It was a gunshot. I woke up in a panic and said, “What do we do?” My mom and dad said to stay in the room while they went to go see what was going on. My brother and I did not want to stay in that room alone so we followed. There was
someone in the lobby dressed in all black holding a gun to the concierge’s head. My mother screamed. The gunman turned, shot the concierge in the head and started chasing after us. We went into the stairs and immediately started climbing until we reached the fifth floor. By this time we had lost the gunman. We opened the only door we saw and went through it. It lead us to the top of the roof. “What the hell are we supposed to do now?” said my mother. My father replied, “Just wait here and try to find something to defend ourselves with” “Defend ourselves? How the hell are we supposed to do that?” “Just let me think for a moment” My dad smashed the glass box by the door and pulled out the fire extinguisher. He said that we had to move because it wasn’t safe to stay still. So we split up. I went with my mom and my brother and dad went together.
My mom and I went down the second staircase on top the roof. We got to the
fourth floor when we spotted the gunman. We both stopped moving instantly. My mom was shaking. Just as the gunman pulled the trigger at us my mom jumped in front of me and my dad came up behind him and smashed him in the head with the fire extinguisher. He fell to the floor. Thank God. I thought this nightmare was over. But it wasn’t. Everything happened so quickly; I turned around and saw my mother laying on the floor bleeding. I screamed and my dad came over and tried to help her. By the time the ambulance got there she was gone. What kind of dream was this?
The next week and a half was mostly a blur to me. I was a robot just doing as
everyone told me to do. I had no emotions. I had no thoughts. I was a puppet that
my dad and brother had to string along to make it look like I cared. I did care I was just in such a state of shock.
The next thing I remember was when we were back in the car on the way
home to see what happened to our house because of this category 5 hurricane. At this point to me it didn’t matter. I needed to start over. I needed something new in my life.
Over the next year we had to rebuild our home from scratch, inside and out.
We had to stay in a cramped trailer while we were rebuilding. My entire neighborhood had instantly become a trailer park with blue tarps everywhere. People were always on edge. The most exciting thing was that I got to re design my own room to be the way I wanted it to be. It was the one thing in my life at that moment that I had complete control of. I did research for days and days on what I wanted my room to look like. I knew I wanted the walls to be orange and for most of my furniture to be silver. I asked my dad if I could use my mom’s bedframe that she had in the attic from when she was a teenager. He said yes. We painted it silver and black. I had to have something in my room that reminded me of my mom. I missed her so much. I was having such a hard time moving on from this tragedy.
Before I knew it, it was three months later and time for me to go back to
school. I was so happy to be out of school for five months. I thought it was a blessing. But it wasn’t. We had so much work poured on us. They thought since we have been out of school for so long that they needed to pile on the homework to make us as smart as when we left. The teachers they brought in to replace the old ones that didn’t teach anymore didn’t understand what we all just went through.
Even though we were kids we were still just as affected as the adults. One day when the teacher was announcing the assignment I raised my hand and said, “Do you think you can give us a break tonight? We’ve been doing so much work and we are all just physically and emotionally drained.” “You’re drained from all the homework I’ve been giving?” “NO! I’m drained because I watched as my mom got shot, and had to help rebuild my own house from the ground up.” The class fell silent and the teacher said, “Thank you Daniel that is enough.” And assigned us the homework anyway. I never understood why the teachers made us do so much work when we had just been through. Many of us never really spoke of what happened that’s why everyone was shocked when I stood up and said that. Of course because I said it I got non-‐stop questions for the days to follow. I didn’t answer any of them.
One day I came home from school and my dad was waiting with my brother.
He said that he needed to talk to us. He sat me and my brother down on the couch and began talking. “We’re moving. Not just from this house but from Louisiana. There is another storm out there and I can’t go through what we went through last time. I know you guys can’t either. I know its going to be hard for y’all to pick up your things and just move to a new place, go to a new school, and make new friends, but it can’t be the worst thing that has happened to us. I think it will be good for us. What do you guys think?”
My brother started cursing under his breath and I said, “Dad I have had my bags packed since the day we got back. I’ve been ready to move.”
We started the move. Believe it or not it was hard to move because we had
made new memories at the new home that I would never forget. It was hard because we had to leave some of the things that were my moms behind. I couldn’t take my bed. The one thing that connected me to my mom the most, all we had left were pictures. But I know it’s all for the best, that the new life we were going to have would be greater then the one we were living.
There we were standing in front of the house that we ourselves built up from
the ground with our bags packed and ready to say goodbye, for good. We loaded everything into the car and headed off. I will never forget everything that happened to me. It will forever be engraved in my heart, but it will be nice to get a fresh start.
Published on Aug 6, 2012