Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Wash the day off of me,"

Went on the class trip today. Felt like it might be good for me, even if I didn't feel like going. We went to an amusement park.

To Six Flags.

Six Flags New England.

In Springfield.

We got there early in the day. Went on the good coasters early, most of them twice. Got the blood flowing. We hit all the spots. We ran out of things to do. We were wishing for a reason to go home early.

We got a tornado warning.

No one took it seriously, at first. There hasn't been a dragon in these parts in a thousand years. Why worry about it? Some people got too worked up over clouds. This was New England. We know about the rain.

The staff seemed to be taking it seriously.

We decided this was a good enough time to leave. As we were going to the buses, we started hearing things, like that a tornado had touched down in Springfield. I said "oh, Springfield."

I remembered stopping in Springfield on the Amtrak one time and encountering various interesting homeless people. I had an amusing anecdote to share.

Then someone said, "We're in Springfield."

The staff didn't exactly want us to leave. They said we could, but they also offered to let us take shelter in the buildings. We wanted to leave.

So we did.

So we drove through Springfield right after the tornado did. We saw cars overturned, trees uprooted, buildings torn to pieces.

So we watched the windows like hawks.

So we recorded ourselves with video cameras and called our parents and girlfriends to say I love you.

If we had left a little earlier. Or a little later.

I almost felt like I had trouble staying awake.

I can only remember the ride home in flashes.

Flash one: I am looking at a building that has had its roof ripped off. I'm fumbling with my backpack.

Flash two: I'm zooming in on a cloud in the distance on my camcorder. Everyone around me is exclaiming nervously.

Flash three: We're driving past a horde of sirens and flashing lights.

Flash four: I'm at the school on the phone telling him he needs to talk to the principal about me driving home.

Flash five: I'm arguing with a cop about being let onto the warzone my road has been turned into.

I got home.

It was still there.

I feel like I've had my skin torn off and the wind is pulling at the exposed flesh and muscle.

I've been trying to calm down. Stop the flow of adrenaline. Stop watching the news.

I lowered my body into the lukewarm bath and sat and slapped water onto my neck and chest. I remember exactly what I said to myself.

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