Left Behind In A Hurricane

Left Behind In A Hurricane

As Raymond left his house that morning for work, he knew there was a possibility he wouldn't see it in one piece again. The hurricane was predicted to hit the island and his house was only a couple of blocks from the beach. The weather forecasters had been tracking the storm for almost two weeks. He boarded up his windows and secured anything outside his home to the best of his ability.

As he stepped onto his porch before leaving he took one last look around. All the furniture and plants were cleared off the porch. Raymond saw nothing left the storm could take without taking the house, except a small aluminum ashtray sitting on the railing. He thought to himself there was no reason to remove it. The ashtray would find its way somewhere when the storm hit.

He started thinking of all the places that ashtray could end up. It was amusing to him. Maybe it will fly into a tree and stick into the trunk. Raymond had seen documentaries about tornadoes where similar things had happened. Maybe it would fly to a nearby town and land on someone else's porch. He imagined someone sitting on their porch smoking a cigarette and a random ashtray lands under their arm. It would be funny, he thought.

What if the wind just knocked the ashtray off the rail onto the ground below? It would get buried where it lived most of its life which seemed like a harsh end for the small metal tray. It made him think about moving it. He could take it and send it on an adventure somewhere. The possibilities were endless, but Raymond still had to go. He decided he would let the wind take it where it would. The ashtray was a remanent of when his aunt used to live with him and chain-smoked.

It was funny to think about, but the wind was already picking up and he needed to evacuate. Raymond got into his red and silver Dodge Ram truck and headed through the abandoned streets of the island. He could only image how many trees would be knocked down, houses that would be crushed, and electrical lines that would be snapped. He had seen hurricane damage before and it wasn't something he wanted to see happen to his own home. Still, he knew they would rebuild if they needed. The community was very good at working through things together.

A few years before, there was a major flood that took out a few houses near the river. Many locals with resources came in and helped clear the land. Others helped displaced families with housing and food. Within two months, most families had fully recovered. It was an amazing sight. Still, it wasn't an ordeal he felt any of them should have to go through.

As he continued off the island he saw a few signs posted on the road from previous evacuees. Some were asking the storm to stay away. Some were messages to family that stayed behind. Others were just offering prayers. It made Raymond emotional.

For two days everyone had to stay away. The hurricane hit almost like expected although it took a last-minute turn to the north sparing the island a direct hit. Still, the damage was massive along the waterfront. The interior houses didn't suffer as badly, but still had some wind and flood damage.

Raymond returned as soon as the roads were cleared. He drove the same path back only he had to dodge branches or electrical poles that were down. Some of the road was still covered in water, as were many of the yards. Raymond was glad everyone he knew was safe. They had all evacuated.

He started imagining what his house looked like. He imagined everything from a few broken branches to the house being completely demolished. Then his mind wandered to the little ashtray. What became of it? He looked along the road as he drove thinking maybe he would see it, although he hoped not. He hoped it flew away to somewhere else so it could have an adventure.

As he approached his house, he noticed a few limbs down front the trees. The ground was still mostly flooded and there was a board that came down from one of the windows. Still, the house looked to be in good shape, which made Raymond happy. He would be able to quickly recover and help others that need it. He parked on the clearest part of the yard he could find. He stepped out of the truck and walked up the stairs to the porch. They were still pretty well together except for one part of the rail getting broken by a branch.

When Raymond got to the porch he also noticed that the screen door had pulled off one of the hinges also, but would be an easy fix. He looked out at the yard from the view of the porch and started thinking about what he needed to do first. Then he looked at the spot where he left the ashtray. It was still there. Through the wind and rain, the branches falling all around, and boards falling off the house, the little aluminum ashtray stood its ground.