From Chapter 4 – Learning to Walk
Day 141 – The tranquil waters of the trickling creek have swollen to a roaring rapid. When I arrived, it was possible to walk barefoot and pick blackberries that flourished along its banks. But, today, it’s more of an enemy than a friend.
The rainstorm has rendered all the firewood useless. I crawl under the abandoned cabins to look for dry branches or scraps to burn. No luck, so I’m bracing for another night of bone-chilling temperatures.
I rehang the sheets covering the windows and door. The wind whips through the cabin with such force it appears as if I’m surrounded by ship sails on a transatlantic journey.
I peel off the layers of wet clothes, hanging them on hooks behind the red enamel stove. With no heat, everything will still be damp when I get dressed tomorrow. Naked, gaunt. My beard, completely white. Hair knotted, thinner, hangs over my eyes. The smell of putrid sponge seeps from my every hole.
Staring into the mirror, there is a stranger in front of me.
Eyes locked, trying not to look down at my skeletal frame, I make a plea.
“Adam, what in the hell must I still endure?”
He replies, “It’s going to rain.”
Frustrated with his stupid answer, I step into the shower. The metal clang of the water hitting the walls and the cold tin pressed against my flesh is almost comforting. I can feel my ribs poking through my sides, my hip bones projecting out. I try to scrub the dirt from my body, but the dark spots are bruises I didn’t know I had. Looking at my feet, the water isn’t going down. The septic tank has reached its capacity and is pushing back.
I damp myself with a wet towel and hunt for the driest pair of dirty underwear and socks I can find.
No more showers, clean dishes, or flushing the toilet until the rain stops.
Day 143 – I haven’t been able to go outside except to feed the kittens. My boots sink into the mud as I walk across the field. Everyone left the property.
Day 147 – Tired of being stuck in my cabin, I gather a few dollars in change. I follow the same path to the local market. By the time I get there, I’m dripping wet and leave a trail of water through the store. I walk the aisles trying to get as much as possible including food for the kittens. I make sure they eat even though I am not. They are too young to know what hunger is.
Day 149 – Over a week has gone by. The storms knocked out the electric and flooded the neighboring towns. Mass evacuations are taking place. From my window, I watch the water inch closer to the cabin hour by hour. There are talks we might need to evacuate.
Day 152 – Each day I searched in vain for dry wood, often taking pieces of my cabin apart to burn or pages from my notebooks. When lunacy wins, I shred Adam’s words and toss them into the fire. I hate him.
Day 169 – For thirty days, I was forced to go within, and to do so, Adam guided the rain to fall, locking me away with the person I truly despise the most – myself.