Friday, September 02, 2005

Surprise. Surprise.

On the ride home, the unexpected: my cell phone rings. It is Cindy. My wife and children are safe. I haven't heard their voices since Tuesday. Only four days ago. Feels like four weeks. My world is upside down. I can't believe I'm talking to her on my cell. Never thought to even check it for signal. She's doing most of the talking. I'm silent.And numb.

Hattiesburg has power again. She's spent the past couple of days standing in lines. Getting supplies. Getting gas for all the cars. Uncle Terry has already started off on another run (he drives big rigs all cross countries.) Aunt Judy is back to being a realtor, riding the wake of the sudden real estate explosion.

Cindy asks what to do. Should come down to the Coast? She can't keep them up there for weeks. Doesn't want to impose on the family. But doesn't know what to do. They're running out of cash, too. Debit cards are useless. Nobody will take a check. The banks are all closed. What should she do? Where will we go?

I'm still numb. I've been juggling the pieces of my parents chaos and trying to fend for my grandparents since the moment I left Hattiesburg. But now my own life comes falling back to earth. Liam had only been in school for one week, before the storm. Cindy hadn't even started looking for a nursing job. Where would Meg go to pre-k, now? New house? My new job? Would any of those dreams survive?

I can't think about any of it. Can't talk about it. I tell Cindy I'm okay, everyone is okay, and I'll see her tonight. I'll get some money and drive back to Hattiesburg to see her and the children. And we'll figure out what to do. We'll make something work.

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