Catastrophic

It was an ordinary Tuesday night for me. I was happy to leave “the farm,” another stressful work day behind me. I couldn’t wait to get home so naturally I sped on the highway. Fast enough to call it speeding but slow enough to avoid a citation. Like most Tuesday nights, I had no special plans and was simply excited to go home and relax. Traffic was no ally of mine that night and it took me a while despite my velocity. When I finally got home the welcoming scent of a hot meal infiltrated my nostrils as soon as I opened the door. The radiating heat from the kitchen fogged up my winter battered eye glasses. I power walked to my bedroom door like it was the hottest nightclub in Boston and I was going miss the free entrance before 11pm promotion. As always, I turned on the television as soon as I stepped into the room. The news was on and I overheard talks about an earthquake. I remember thinking that places such as California get earthquakes all the time and everything would be fine wherever this was. At least that’s what I thought until I sat down and directed my full attention to the news.

This was no ordinary earthquake that leaves behind tipped over table lamps. With a 7.0 magnitude it left behind collapsed buildings and broken hearts. In several movies and shows you will often see families huddled around the tv watching the horrific news of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. That is what I looked like, except I was alone. I was sitting on the edge of my bed, speechless and motionless. I was dressed in my usual cold weather home wear, a white t-shirt and pajama pants. I needed a haircut and shave. I could feel my facial hair protesting against me. It felt like a thousand hairs dragging pitchforks across my face. However, none of that moved me because I was glued to the screen. It was like watching one of those end-of-the-world movies, without the special effects and convincing but fake emotions. Everything before my eyes was real. The screams, the cries, the blood, and the destruction, it was all real. I was confused and shocked, not sure what to do. I watched in silence for most of the night. I stared at the tv waiting for the good news, but it never came. In fact, it only got worse the longer I watched. I can’t remember the last time I felt so empty.

That was Tuesday, January 12th 2010, approximately a month shy from being a full year in the past. That day I felt like something important was taken from me. I would never compare my feelings of watching the tv that night to the feelings of some one who actually experienced it. I wouldn’t compare my remorse to those who lost loved ones nor to those who lost all their possessions. However, I will never forget the night an earthquake vigorously shook my parents’ birthplace and the source of my culture, Haiti.

– Vic Louis
This was a homework assignment stemmed from a non-fiction lecture. In the past I’ve waited for the teacher’s feedback and corrections before posting an assignment here, however, this post was from the heart and long overdue.

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