“Did the Storm roll in?” MJ texted me. “Just clouds. Doesn’t look like a big storm tonight,” I texted back. Storm Roller was the nickname MJ had given my husband. It was our code word and her way of checking on me without him knowing, just in case he read my texts or emails.
This past weekend was more than a little stressful due to Sandy’s imminent arrival. My oldest son is living, working, and attending grad school in the DC area, and I was terribly worried about him. My children at home tried to assure me that Big Brother was raised poor, in the woods, without most of the amenities that many Americans take for granted. He knows how to survive.
Still, my mother’s heart was worried.
They were right though. My prudent son had shopped on Thursday, out of concern that the stores would be emptied by Saturday, and he had cooked meals ahead on Friday. He had also stocked up on batteries and ready to eat foods. Fortunately, two weeks earlier he’d asked that I ship his down comforter and a few of his other belongings. He was as well prepared as he could possibly be.
He unplugged his computer in case of a power surge and fully charged his cell phone. We watched the news channels plotting Sandy’s course, and he texted periodically to let me know that he was still okay. We tried to maintain our normal routines the best that we could but, really, we were waiting. Our bodies moved about and tended normal tasks, but our minds were fixated on the storm.
At approximately 5 p.m. our time he said that he thought the worst was hitting, and it wasn’t that bad. They still had power. It seemed to be lots and lots of rain with high winds. He said it wasn’t surreal but was pretty intense, and, as he texted, he went ahead and fixed himself dinner. However, the news was telling me that the worst had not hit yet.
Sure enough, he texted a bit later stating that the winds and rain had picked up and the power was flickering. It had gotten worse. All he or anyone could do was sit and wait it out, pray, and hope.
The next morning brought relief to his neighborhood. Daylight revealed a downed tree but no flooding. Work and school would re-open on Wednesday.
For others though there will be no work, no school. For some, there won’t even be a Wednesday.
It’s ironic that MJ chose to call my husband Storm Roller because living with domestic violence is a bit like living with the knowledge that the perfect storm is converging and headed for you or someone you love. You prepare the best that you can. You go about life, trying to pretend things are normal, while you worry constantly. Life is lived on the edge, not certain of when the storm might actually hit. You brace yourself for the inevitable. Sometimes you think it won’t get worse and then it does. In any event, once the winds have calmed and the torrent eases you assess the damage. Some will get up to go to work or school. Others don’t survive. For the survivors the mess is extensive, and the financial cost to repair and rebuild is high. The rain will forever bring trepidation to the heart of those who saw the damage it is capable of causing.
I wish there was a satellite image that could warn us before a perfect storm converges upon our lives.