Our basement is wet and cold. I huddle against my sister and brother, their warmth seeps into me and spreads through my body. My parents hold us closer, their arms encircling us in an embrace of love and protection. We can hear the aggressive wind ripping our house apart above our heads. I wonder if our neighbors are safe, our relatives, my friends. What if we are the only survivors? My hands shake uncontrollably with fear. I clench them tightly, until my bony knuckles turn white. We had very little time to prepare. The weathermen said the hurricane was supposed to miss us, but they were wrong. We had a day to prepare. The supermarkets were packed, teeming with frantic people searching for food to last them through the storm. People were fighting over cans of beans and soup. I guess that’s where the old saying “desperate times call for desperate measures” comes from. We spent the night getting the basement ready. We searched the house for blankets, pillows, lanterns, candles, anything that would help. We told my younger brother Henry that we were building a giant pillowfort and we were all gonna have a big sleepover together. A huge smile had split across his face and I thought “if only you knew”.
The storm is supposed to last two days at the very least. We are prepared for five days, maybe longer if we ration. I wonder how other families are doing. The families that couldn’t get prepared in time are probably not in a good position right now. Are there people out there who didn’t get to shelter in time? I don’t want to think about what’s happening to them. We are okay, and that’s what matters most. The ceiling creaks loudly and Henry grabs my hand. I give it a quick, reassuring squeeze and pull him closer to me. We stand here, united and feeding off each other’s strength. We will get through this, as a family.