It was warm. Edward surprised me with a date to a bar and grill and we enjoyed burgers and beer so cold it froze the orange wedge. We talked about developing NRE (new relationship energy) between Bailey and me, the warm fuzzies one gets when they’re in a new relationship that can go dormant in established relationships or when there are other factors such as the stress of a court case. We got her late Valentines gifts of a party size bag of M&Ms and a bonsai for her desk at work. When we stepped out of the store we were met with the forecasted, belated rain.
We were out just in time to pick Bailey up from work and give her gifts. Once we were home we settled down, and I tried to pull her attention away from the movie on her phone to talk when my phone went off. The alert derailed my attention. “Ed, did you get it?” I knew he was decompressing with a gameon his own phone and would notice it, too, a tornado watch alert.
“We have five minutes,” he announced. He went to the computer to pull up the radar.
“We have to get the kids out of bed?” I just wanted to confirm it before undoing the work of what may have been hours. I grabbed a gallon of filtered water and slid it into the bathroom with my phone, went with Bailey to the kids’ room where she grabbed Gaston, I grabbed Ginger, and as considerately as I could dragged Guinevere out of bed, excitedly chanting “we’re going to the bathroom for a party!” As I walked, I stepped in puddles formed from new leaks, and the lights flickered.
One of the Ladies had grabbed thick blankets and tossed them in the tub where we gathered the kids. Because of Guinevere’s reluctance I piled in with them, and Alice cuddled with us holding Gaia. I played Me Without You and Alice chided me, saying it would stress out the kids. I looked at them. They were dazed, and these are kids that fall asleep to heavy metal. Me Without You, the album Ten Stories, went perfectly with the mood and I still regret not being able to play it. Bailey suggested 21 Pilots instead, and I played the top tracks while we read Psalm 91 with the inflections of a story book to the kids. Bailey teased me for bringing water when we were in a room with access to water.
I watched Ed’s face reading the radar from his phone. His expression changed just as the lights flickered, the sound of hail and rain ceased, and I listened the the odd rumbling of thunder, somehow distorted, and listened expectantly for the screaming of the tin roof shredding. The whole ordeal was strange. I thought to myself tornadoes don’t happen here. It felt like a drill, and I messed up by not packing enough water and by forgetting my shoes.
The lights stabilized, the rain resumed, and Ed described the iconic black dot on the radar that passed over the location of our house.
We discovered later that the tornado had touched down on a restaurant down the street from us before picking back up into the air and passing over us. Had it been lower, our home would have been gone. We also learned that a leak sprung over the bed, right above Bailey’s spot. She slept on the couch and I slept with a bucket beside me. The kids cried over going back to bed, and I grumbled that I had to be up in six more hours.
I want to say thank you to the stranger that read, like, over 40 of my posts three months after my last update. I’m not sure what your motive was, but it inspired me to sit down and crank out more words!