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  • I heard about the storm before I knew it was between me and home.

    Last night it was just a news item. A curious mix of circumstances drifting up the eastern seaboard. A whirl of factors and dynamics gathering speed and taking aim and heading for land.

    I called my father yesterday on his 83rd birthday.

    My mother and Kat and Jeff were there.

    I’ll see you in June, he said again.

    I love you, I said.

    His words at the end so quiet I missed them in the time lag and cell phone crackle.

    We didn’t say a word about tests and transfusions and the medical storm that has taken over his life.

    It was still dark and bleary early when I logged on and read my mother’s mail. From 8,000 miles and 6 time zones across an ocean away she reached out and said come home, it’s time.

    Now the storm is between me and home like a curtain drawn closed. It is roiling and rolling and I’m peering through trying to see my father there on his hospital bed. And I can’t reach out, can’t reach past, can’t break through to touch his hand, to brush his cheek with my hand as I did for my daughter when she was fevered and pale, as I might do for you while you sleep and I am wakeful and watchful in the dark.

    I read her words again. Tears falling with the oak leaves, she said.

    I got up and wandered through the dark empty house. Found the bag of pictures I have here and spilled the years out like leaves. They lie scattered and tumbled across the table. I don’t know what I am looking for, maybe something to hold onto.

    Later, at work, I sat in the library. Others wrote curriculum, I scribbled with a neon orange gel pen trying to release the pressure building. No one knew what I wrote or guessed what was in my heart. Unable to sit, I stood by the doors and eyed my reflection. Only my usual studied calm reflected back at me like the deep waiting calm of the sea before the storm.

    The 24 hour weather shows are in their glory tracking the storm. Reporters and politicians and people in the street all looking up and wondering, will it mix with a cold front and build to a mighty storm of legend and terror, seeding destruction as it tears up the great river valleys? or will it drift away, another promise of doom avoided? And this storm, this storm in me, this storm that has only just touched me with its long chill fingers reaching and scratching and prying.

    On the news they boarded and sand bagged and evacuated ahead of their storm. I am bundling my courage, hoarding my strength, heading into the very eye of the storm.

    Two storms heading to make landfall on the same coast.
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