By now, we all know that Hurricane María affected not only Puerto Rico, but other adjacent little islands. The majority of its wrath was set upon Puerto Rico, yes. Most people are probably tired of all the María/PuertoRico thing, but for those of us who actually lived this horrifying event, it’s a whole different story. It started out as a “normal” hurricane watch, people were expecting it to be horrible, but what we got instead was not at all what we prepared ourselves for.
My husband and I were recently unemployed, so we decided to go back to school and started doing/learning something we both really loved. We had just moved back to our [small] hometown and things were starting to look up. He found a part time job that he really loved, and was at the same time going to school. He felt content. I was commuting to my school which was about an hour away, but I loved it. I loved the feeling of doing something for me, something I decided to do because life’s too short to do things that don’t bring you joy. So it took us by surprise, the whole hurricane issue. It had been about 20 years since Puerto Rico went through a natural disaster of this kind, so everyone kind of lowered their guard. Everyone thought this thing was just going to pass over us, like all the other hurricanes that thankfully did not hit us directly.
Man, were we wrong! Something started changing, the media started acting all weird and were getting everyone in a panic state. Which, really, did work, to be honest. In a matter of hours, grocery stores were out of water, canned foods, and other basic necessities like candles, and little cookers, gas for the tiny stoves, etc . Gas stations were out of gas, and hardware stores were almost out of stock. I specifically remember telling my husband I was going to make a really good meal because I didn’t know when I was going to be able to cook like that again. So I did, I made mofongo with caldo, which was really good. We ate, we cleaned, we gave our cat a lil catnip for the nerves, we closed the door, and at about 9:00 pm we started getting rain and the power went out. At 8:00 am was when the real deal started hitting pretty bad, winds roaring, heavy rain showers, and other sounds you didn’t think houses and mountains made. Roofs flying everywhere, leaves, trees, logs, the street disappeared and turned into a dangerous river of water, dirt and rocks; it was just a mix of roars and nightmares. I heard a scream, a man, of course immediately, I told my husband there was someone screaming for help, I started having a panic attack, and I remember how calm he was when he told me that was no man screaming, that was the wind.
I still remember that first sight of everything after it was over. The sound of a fallen land. Everyone started walking, trying to open up roads because streets disappeared, there was water, mud, and debris everywhere. We had no power, no cellphone reception, no internet connections, no cleared streets for cars, not a single way of communicating with our loved ones. Our lives had just changed forever and we were just starting to realize that.
To be continued.