Yesterday we did our best to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm. I tried to do some work on the computer. All day I had been so nervous about everything that I ended up wearing headphones and listening to Pandora to block out the sound of the wind. The tree in the neighbor across the street’s yard fell gently on their house with luckily little damage. We made some dinner while the lights flickered on and off. Eventually it went off for good.
It was dark and I craved news. Once you have news you want more and it becomes disaster porn. You can’t stop. But there is also that part where you just want to make sure everyone is ok.
So I woke up this morning at 4 am and tried to be quiet while giving the house a walk through. My gram and her dogs are here to be safe and I didn’t want to wake everyone up. Except of course for Opie. He heard me get up and was at my side as I walked through the dark making sure everything was where it should be. I currently have a bedroom set I am refinishing for a client and I have been terrified that it would be hurt. The tour done and all good we tried to go back to sleep. I tried I really did but it took awhile.
Finally I awoke and it was light out. Now it was time to find out how bad everything was. It was like a terrible Christmas morning where you didn’t want to find out the surprise. We got up and started looking on Facebook to see the pictures our friends had posted. And the day became terrible.
We live with a mile of the Raritan Bay. We spend most of our beach days at Sandy Hook or Sea Bright beaches. You go to certain places and see certain people on certain days because that is the drill. I have friends I see on a regular basis and I don’t have their phone number. It’s just understood that we will be at the place, at the time and we will see each other.
And now those places are gone. I’m not being philosophical. They are gone. The beach bar where I wore flip flops in January because it was the beach after all. The place I spent so many days drinking away a terrible day at work. The place where I was hours after getting engaged with all my friends raising a glass and singing along to the band. It’s gone.
This morning I awoke to pictures of buildings smashed and sand everywhere. I awoke to reports from friends that were unthinkable. So many friends lost everything. Whole houses are gone. It’s something I haven’t felt since September 11th. That day there was an unbelievable feeling of helplessness sitting in the city and being useless. Here it was again. Nothing to do to soothe my friends’ pain.
So now I sit here drinking another beer in my Dononvan’s Reef beer cozy in remembrance, trying to steel my nerves. All I want to do is cry for all the things I will miss. How next summer will never be ok. How I’m glad Opie finally got to go and spend a day there. And I try to remember that the people are all still here. They are battered but they are still here. And we can make new memories.
But I”m not ready for that yet.