I was born the year Hurricane Alicia hit Houston. My grandmother would tell me stories about us not having lights and being flooded in for a week or so. I was only around six months old so I don’t remember any of it but I’ve often wondered what it must have been like for them. The stress, the fear, the anxiety, the nervousness.
On Thursday night I came to work for a 6:00pm to 6:00am shift. I haven’t been home sense. I have no idea if my house is underwater, I have no idea if it’s perfectly fine. What I have come to accept is that I’m going to survive either way. What I’ve come to accept is that my city will be bigger and better than before either way.
I feel like I haven’t felt the warmth of my woman in months and it’s only been a weekend. I feel as though I haven’t seen my mother’s smile in years or heard my God Children’s laughter. I’m constantly cold because we’re all constantly wet. I’m constantly checking my phone to make sure no one I love is stranded or hurt. I’m constantly looking out of windows and doors hoping to see sunlight or clear skies. I say these things not to complain but to say that we’re all feeling the same emotions. The same sense of helplessness, of loss, of uncertainty.
I’m working with a Hispanic guy who’s father and sister are trapped in Monterrey, Mexico. A Kenyan who now lives in Katy, a Ethiopian that lives down the street from where I grew up but in the gentrification section. I Mexican guy that doesn’t speak Spanish and loves comic books and tattoos. These are the five men I’ve shared food with, walked in waist deep water with, told everything would be alright when they’re worried about their families. There have been no conversations about elections, about race or about status in life.
Everyone ten minutes or so I hear helicopters flying overhead. I see alerts on my phone for flash flooding. Every time I look out the backdoor I see that the water has risen just a tad bit more. None of this scares me, none of me makes me second guess coming to work or not leaving when I had a chance. I think about the roads we closed and what would have happened had we not and someone drove into that water. I think about responsibility and sacrifice.
We all have a role to play, be safe out there.