We are supposed to write about weather and all I can think about is storms.
I live in a tent with my mother and two little brothers at a campground. At night we sit at the picnic table and eat cut-up hot dogs. When it's raining, we color.
I have a handful of barbie dolls. The beautiful tanned Malibu Barbie and Mod Hair Ken. Mod Hair Ken, if you weren't a child of the 1970's, has brushable hair and sideburns and beards you can paste on to give Ken a variety of modern looks. Mod Hair Ken has stupid pants that are nearly impossible to take on and off. So they never come off.
That night it's raining. The sky is gray-green.
When the storm hits, time slows down.
My mother scoops up my two year old brother and grabs my four year old brother's hand and screams at me to follow her. We run from the picnic table as the tarp we were just sitting under flies away, the metal poles and ropes whipping around us.
The beach towels and bathing suits drying on the clothes line blow away. Our tent blows away, carrying with it our sleeping bags and pillows and all of our clothes.
My mother yells and my brothers cry and I drop my dolls and we run. My mother bangs on the door of a nearby trailer and begs for someone to let us in. An old lady opens the door and takes my baby brother out of my mother's arms. My four year old brother and I trip through the doorway, our clothes wet, our hair wet.
Our mother goes back outside to try to save what she can.
We sit with a strange old lady and look out a blurry window, watching our mother running in the pelting rain, grabbing for towels and clothes and toys and sleeping bags.
The storm is probably over in three minutes.
The sun comes out and the old lady opens the trailer door. We run outside. Our mother is wet and muddy and wandering around the campsite.
Everything that hasn't blown away forever is dangling in the trees.
I find Mod Hair Ken on a branch. His too tight pants have blown off and are hanging on by his flat plastic feet. All of his mod paste-on hair accessories are gone. He only has one hairstyle now.
Every storm I am in a trailer looking out a smeared window, watching my mother try to save us. Learning when it is over, that we are powerless.
When you live through a storm, the only thing left to do is wander around picking up the pieces. Tell and retell your story until the fear is forgotten. Until it is something funny to tell at a party.
Or on a blog post.