This time, I’m the mom of a family, in a city
In a foreign country (? not the US,)
And we were in the process of moving there.
We had found an apartment, up in a high-rise,
Like most of the people there, in this country.
As we were moving in, a big storm hit,
And the government told everyone
To immediately evacuate all high-rise buildings,
And go to their assigned shelter.
As we were so new, the government
Had not yet assigned us a place.
But the authorities still came and evicted us
And told us to go to the bottom of the building,
And to seek shelter there for the time being.
We had to leave everything,
Taking only what we could grab.
As we left the apartment. I was so upset by it all,
That I could not remember what we should take with us.
So, we left all our stuff there, thinking it would blow over soon.
At the bottom of the building, there were several other people there,
Who also did not have a place assigned.
I could see that there was indeed
A large storm around us.
As I looked out the window, I could see a small tornado
Beginning to form.
I told those around me, and we all watched it
As it grew and moved towards us.
But as it came near, it suddenly petered out,
And then the sky started to clear out.
“Well,” I said to our family,
“Time to go back to our rooms,”
But those around us
Told us that no one could return
To their apartment yet,
As this was only the beginning.
“The weather grows in form and intensity,
And always lasts about two or three days.
They will not let anyone back in
Until they say the storm has passed.”
At that point I panicked, stating that we were new there,
And did not know that we had to bring supplies
To wait out such a big three day long storm.
One there, suggested to me, that if I was not afraid to go back up,
MAYBE they would take pity on me, and allow me to go back to our place
To get a few supplies.
So I turned and ran back up, until I reached the floor
Where our apartment was.
There I could see that it had all changed there.
The government had set up an emergency desk there,
So they could process the people and all their stuff better.
Everyone’s apartment door was wide open,
And officers were searching through
All the rooms and all the stuff in them.
When they seen me running towards them,
they stopped me, right before the end of the hall
where our place was, and where the desk was,
And so I begged the woman behind the desk to have mercy on me,
Only this once, as we were new to this place,
and to please allow me to go back
Into our place, to get our needed medicines.
She squinted at me and starred at me
for a long moment, before saying yes.
I thanked her profusely,
And then went into our area,
And began searching for our medicines.
It was much harder than I had thought,
As the government (or someone,)
Had begun to rifle though all our belongings.
Nothing was where it had been,
So my medicines were no longer
Where I had put them last.
The lady who had said yes to me,
Then came over to keep an eye on me,
Apparently wanting to give her o.k.
To whatever I took.
I had finally found my pill box,
And I was about to go,
When I opened it up
And found that my medicine
Was not in there any longer.
Some was, but much was not.
When I showed her this,
She told me that I could not have
ANY of the medicine in it,
As it obviously was not mine.
I told her that it was o.k.,
And that I had the bottles
With some extra medicine in them,
With the actual prescription label
Still on them, over there, in my suitcase,
Which was still in line, waiting to be searched.
I then asked her if this would help
Identify the needed medicine as mine.
As she nodded yes,
Her eyebrows rose in surprise,
So I told her that as we were from America,
we were in the habit
Of always carrying the bottles with us,
Just in case we were ever pulled over
By the police and searched.
She seemed impressed and pleased with this.
I quickly went over to my suitcase,
And grabbed the necessary medicines.
The lady checked to make sure they were mine,
And then told me to grab a backpack (of mine,)
Put the medicines in it, and be sure
To put some female underwear in it,
As well as a change of clothes for us.
When I had finished doing this,
She told me that I now had all I would need
To get through the storm, for all the females
In my family.
“What about the males?” I asked her.
“There are three in my family.”
She nodded, and handed me
Another back pack, and told me
To fill it up with my male’s stuff;
Many underwear, and a change of clothes.
I then told her, that I had a son
Who was also on medicine,
And I asked her, if I could get
His prescription bottles also
From the suitcase. Without pause,
She nodded her approval,
And I did as I had asked.
After she checked the prescription labels,
She then told me to take
Only enough food and drink
To fill up the rest of the space
In the two back packs.
As she watched me,
I grabbed some boxes of crackers,
And pushed them into one of the bags,
And then filled up the other bag
With bottles of water.
I made sure, that I did not overstuff
Either of the bags, and that I filled them up
As fast as I could.
As she watched me,
I could tell that I confused her,
For she had expected an American
To put up a great big fuss,
At seeing them search through
Our apartment, and take some of our stuff.
And she figured I’d really get upset,
When she told me I could only have
Some underwear, one change of clothes,
And such limited food and drink for my family.
I think she came to the conclusion,
That I was a little crazy,
But would never the less, make a good and acceptable citizen
Of their country. I also knew, that she would log this info
Into their government computers,
Thereby making our way smoother
Into this new society and country.
“You realize,” she said to me,
“that this is the only time,
That I will allow you to come back
For your supplies like this!”
I nodded in understanding,
And reassured her
That another time
Would not be needed.
Once done with all this packing,
I turned to her and bowed low before her,
Thanking her yet again
for her mercy and generosity.
This amused her and pleased her,
And so she told the security guard
That was waiting to escort me out,
“She’s o.k.; you can let her go
Back down to her family by herself.”
And so it was, that I was able
To go back downstairs, in freedom.
As I walked back, I could see
That there were several other groups there
From the government, All doing the same thing
To the other floors of the building.
But they did not bother me,
For I did not try to go down their hallways,
But kept to the main halls and stairways.
As I was almost down to the bottom,
I came across several young men,
No more than teens, hanging out together.
At first, I felt a pang of fear,
But then I sensed that they were the sons
Of those who worked the floors above,
And were not interested
In taking my backpacks.
As I passed them,
I caught the eye of one of them,
And realized that it was the same boy
Who had been eyeing up one of my daughters
Appreciatively, just the day before.
So I took a risk, and went up to him,
And asked him if he knew
Of a place within the city,
One nearest to where we were,
That had a basement, room, or tunnel.
I could tell that he recognized me,
And wanted to make a good impression on me,
So he could maybe ask my daughter out later.
So he frowned for a moment as if in thought,
And then said “you mean the underground?”
I smiled and said yes,
that’s the word I was looking for!
He said “sure;” gave me the building’s number,
And then told me the street. “St. Augustine’s.”
(At least I think it was the street;
It may have been a different form of ID.)
I asked him then, if he had a pen,
So I could write the address down
On my hand. At this point,
All the other boys around him,
Had grown silent, and were listening
To the exchange.
When the boy seen that the pen
Was not showing up on my hand,
He got out a piece of paper from his pocket
And let me write it down on that.
I exchanged some bantering with them,
Making the boy who helped me look good
In front of all his friends,
Thanked the boy with a warm smile,
And then left the building.
I treasured that piece of paper,
Hiding it well upon my person,
For I knew that it would be
Where we would one day take shelter
From a BIG destructive storm,
I returned to my family,
And we sought out shelter there,
As best we could.
The outdoor fireplaces,
(There were two there,)
Had been stuffed with garbage,
But we figured that if the storm
Got real severe,
That is where we would try to shelter.
But at that thought,
I felt my God tell me,
That we would not need to do that,
As we would be fine where we were.
We survived the rest of the three day storm,
(The f5 tornado from the storm
Had taken out a different high-rise,
A few miles from ours,)
And settled in to our new apartment
And our new life in this new country.
And every so often, without warning,
The government would issue out
A storm evacuation, and we would go
To where the government had decreed
We were to go for shelter.
Most of the places, that people sheltered in,
(including the one assigned to our family,)
Reminded me of concentration camps,
With their barbed-wire fences pointing inwards,
portable toilets, and lack of any real amenities.
But we became well-liked at these encampments,
For we kept the peoples spirits up,
By reassuring them that we would all be o.k.,
And by helping to pass the time
By initiating fun little games or conversations
That took the peoples mind
off the approaching storm.
Till one day, the Lord told us
To not take our shelter with them
Like we usually did.
As the government simply assumed
That everyone would go to their shelter,
(to not do so, was thought to be crazy,
For it left you out in the danger,)
And did not bother to check,
And make sure that everyone was there,
It was easy for us,
To go to the underground by St. Augustine,
And seek our shelter there instead,
As our God, Jesus, told us to.
Back at the encampment,
Once the gates there had been locked,
The people there suddenly missed us,
And wondered where we were.
There were a few, that hoped we would be safe,
But most of them could care less
About anyone but themselves.
Our hearts were full of grief,
For we knew that this time,
It would be THEIR shelter
That got destroyed by the coming storm,
And that there was nothing we could do,
To help them.
The incoming storm,
Wiped out not only the shelter,
With all the people in it,
But also the high-rise building
That our apartment was in.
When the storm was over,
(if there ever were any, which was very rare,)
Could then go and search through
A holding building,
Where they put all the things
That had survived the last storm,
To see if any of it belonged to you.
When we went there,
The people there had been told
That there were no survivors,
So they acted quite put out,
At having to suddenly deal
with a pair of survivors.
They reluctantly let us search
Through all the stuff,
But only for a short time.
Most all of it, was ruined by water,
Or stained with mud.
Only small articles of little worth remained.
I tried to find my special salt
In it’s special salt shaker,
But we soon found
That all the salt that remained
Had been soaked by the rains,
And was worthless.
They then wanted to bring us in,
Right then and there,
(as I guessed they usually did,)
To the office of the government,
But they had special plans for that night,
And didn’t want to be late.
So we told them not to worry;
We knew how to get there,
And that we’d go there as soon as possible,
For we had no where else to go.
They seemed satisfied with this,
And so let us go on our way without them.
We did not go to the government,
For that was not what The Lord had told us to do. Instead,
He let us know that we still had more work to do for Him.
When we arrived at the shelter He had led us to,
(a shelter amongst other Christians,)
We were asked by them, how we knew what to do,
We then told them, about the other dream
Someone else had, that we had come across,
Explaining how they had survived a similar storm,
And how they followed The Living God.
This was how we knew
What we had to do.
Then I woke up.