I was calm, my mind was clear and I felt like I wasn’t even present there. I wasn’t scared or worried. I knew it was coming. In fact, I lived through this many times before and even though it was terrifying from time to time, it always ended well.
I was in my house –not a very solid structure made of thin wood and carton and rather old. Huge storm was coming our way and despite it happening during a day it was getting darker and darker outside. It almost felt like a night, but since the power was out, I had to stay in the darkness. I didn’t have much to do except looking out of my window. The rain hasn’t started yet and it was the calm moment before a major storm. Sudden change in air pressure felt like if something heavy was placed directly into my head. I checked the weather again on my phone. Huge reddish cloud was coming directly our way. Oh well, it happened almost every week last summer, we hardly ever had any damage except a few fallen tree branches which didn’t cause much damage either. The clouds were getting darker and so low that it felt like they were touching tops of the trees. Wind started to gain more power. Now it looked like the trees are moving in every direction. Leaves, broken branches and dirt, gotten into the air by strong currents, started to fly in circles getting higher and higher with every new wave of the wind. Then light, a sudden bright flash in the darkness - so close and so low that the storm must be directly above us. A loud round of thunder in a couple of seconds after the lightning made the whole house tremble and shake. I kept sitting by the window even though I knew it was dangerous. Tree branches now looked like they were ready to detach themselves from the trees and fly first high in the air and then far away. No rain yet, but I started to receive tornado warnings on my phone. Not every storm comes with a tornado warning, but recently, most of them bring a tornado or two along. Most of the time tornadoes just fly away without touching the ground, but if they touch down the damage is extensive. If it happens to my house I have no chance to survive. There is no place to hide, no basement or any other enclosed place where I can hide far away from all the windows. Even that won’t save me though given that my house is made of very thin material it’ll just fly away instantly. I saw what tornadoes do to solid brick structures, so, no home for me here. Also, all the rocks and debris will destroy my house even if a tornado is nearby.
Finally it started to rain. Colder drops promised some relieve from the impossible heat – it’s been around 100F for days. Hot air in conjunction with high humidity plus no power which means no AC made last few hours unbearable. I felt like opening a few windows to let some of the wind inside, but it was way too dangerous with upcoming possibility of tornado. It was raining heavier and heavier and since the wind was still very strong it looked like a scary computer game where everything is moving in some unnatural and scary way. Small ponds have stated to form outside, then turn into little creeks and rivers – parts of that water was taken back up by the wind. Then hail, first small pieces of ice, then as big as a ping pong ball. I’ve seen it before. I wasn’t scared at all…
It’s all over and I am homeless now. It’ll take months, maybe even years to rebuild my house. Whole subdivision was wiped out and about a dozen of my neighbors lost their lives and a few went missing. I am lucky to be still alive because my house has literally flown away. I was able to hide inside of a heavy gun safe – I was lucky that thing is huge and I am small and skinny, so, I was able to fit in there comfortable, closed the door for a few minutes and when rocks and heavy items stopped hitting metal sides of the safe I opened the door and it was all over. The whole disaster only took about 10 minutes from beginning to the end. I hid in the safe when the roof of my house got a huge hole in it and started to rip apart. I kept all important documents, some jewelry and old family pictures in the safe. That was all I had left after the storm. The rest of my stuff was gone. For me that only meant a brand new start far away from here. It’s been a while since I started to plan a big move. I couldn’t stand the South any longer. The hot weather was unbearable – no way to step outside all summer long. I grew up in a much colder climate and humidity with heat weren’t my favorite things. Now, with all my stuff gone and house destroyed it should be quite easy to move on and start everything from scratch again. Somewhere up North. I’d have to start all over again – new job, new friends… New and improved me, a deadly storm survivor, a local celebrity talking on the news about her amazing story. It was like dying in the storm and being born again with new values and new life.
I’ve done it before. At some point of life it feels like nothing is any longer new because everything you do is just something you’ve done before. I have some experience of leaving everything behind for a complete change of scenery. I’ve changed countries, languages, houses, jobs, friends… It’s easy. It’s good for you because it takes you out of your habitual life track, puts you into new stressful environment where you’d have to survive, fight for yourself, get used to new things around, learn much more than you needed before the change and keeps you on the edge of your abilities. Then you get used to the new things and it again becomes a habit. Once you are comfortable and no longer fighting it’s time for another change. This kind of lifestyle doesn’t only give you great life experience - it helps you to have an exciting life and makes your life conditions better and better since every change is meant to be an improvement from the step before it.