Category Archives: Short Stories

How Hurricane Irma Tormented Me

 

It was Sunday, September 10, 2017. Hurricane Irma is a category 5 storm expected to hit Florida. I live in Central Florida. The expected time of impact for my area is roughly 2:00 a.m. We prepped as best as we could – plenty of water, non-perishable food plenty for a few days, batteries, flashlights, and so on. Our roof was in the beginning stages of repair so the roofer’s placed a tarp over it to avoid any further damage. We cleared the patio terrace from all furniture, plants, wind chimes and any other potential projectile as recommended. It was very calm – no birds flying or chirping.  A clear sign of what was to come. They knew to steer clear from the monster that would creep in.

Besides my family and my myself, we expected to have my mom and a friend of mine with her 4-year-old child to weather the storm at our home.  We were 8 people, two dogs and a cat. The wait was endless. We tried to make the best of it by playing board games, talking and watched some TV even though most of the television time was spent watching the news. Some of us were anxious, bored or worried.

The rain began at around midday with some wind gusts of about 40 miles. It seemed like a long day. At around 11:00 p.m. I was ready to shower and head to bed. The winds began to pick up as soon as I got into bed. Chewy, our 25-pound dachshund/chihuahua mix, was trembling with fear. I allowed him onto our bed instead of his.

I heard the winds pounding on our windows and what sounded as if either the shed, roof of the outdoor kitchen or the fence was ready to come off. It stopped for a few seconds followed by silence, which was just as terrifying as the howling wind. Irma was not happy. I tried to sleep, but as I was about to doze off I heard a text message come in. It was my sister. She was giving me her accounts of the storm. We texted back and forth for a little while when I decided that I’d prefer to wait it out in the family room. I got up and walked into the family room. The double glass doors vibrated from the winds force. I walked towards the other side of the house and knocked on the door to the bedroom where my mom was but she didn’t respond. I opened it slowly and called out to her a couple of times. She was fast asleep. I wished I had been able to sleep like that while the hurricane stirred outside. I returned to the family room and sat down for a little bit with my friend.

My husband, son and son-in-law all stepped outside the front entrance – crazy guys. Just then the power went out. It was 2:00 a.m. and just as the news anchor predicted, the winds picked up. My sister sent me another text. It seemed to be winding down in her area so she was going to try to get some sleep. I could hear the clanking of flapping roofs and the tossing around of flying debris. I could hear the flapping of the tarp on our roof. It sounded as if the roof was about to give in and fly away. I didn’t know what category the storm was by now nor the speed of the wind. I really didn’t care. I just prayed to God to spare my family, friends, neighbors and Florida from any catastrophe. I headed back to bed even though it was so hard for me to fall asleep. I dozed on and off as the wind pounded on our windows like a mad man, in this case, a mad woman wanting to come inside. She grunted, howled and pushed with all her force and no mercy. She was relentless.

It was now 3:45 a.m. I still couldn’t sleep. I grabbed my iPad and logged onto Facebook and read how my local family and friend’s status depicted their Irma experience. Like I, many were terrified of what was going on. It was surreal. In between Facebook posting I maintained communication via text with my brother and my cousin. By now my husband was oblivious of what was going on as he slept peacefully with Chewy between us trembling. I got up a couple of times and peeked out the window towards the pitch, black night torment of Irma. The last time I glanced at the time it was 4:37 a.m. Irma’s furry was still thrashing away at the windows and everything outside. I was so tired but every time I dozed off I was awakened by Irma’s winds. It finally began winding down just enough for me to get a shut-eye.

I woke up at 6:08 a.m. still tired but relieved that the hurricane had moved on. I lived in Puerto Rico until 1996 and had been in many hurricanes back then and a few here in Florida. But I don’t recall any of them being as terrifying as Irma. It was the longest night of my life.

The Spunky 5-Year-Old’s Gift

I Met A Little Boy

Every time I switch out purses, I come across my dingy old crucifix.  It’s a silver and gold colored crucifix with green gemstones, and it’s made of some sort of plastic material.  It is missing one of the gemstones.  This crucifix was given to me by a spunky 5-year-old Caucasian little boy with beautiful green eyes.  His name was Timothy.

It was the year 1981, I worked as a cake decorator in Baskin-Robins.  Timothy came in with his Mom every day and ate a French vanilla ice cream cone.  Neither Timothy nor his Mom spoke Spanish, so I would tend to them since I was fluent in English.  Timothy was not shy at all and asked all sorts of questions about ice cream.

Timothy loved the cake decorations and complimented my cake decorating skills.  He especially enjoyed the ice cream clown cones, which were nothing other than a vanilla or chocolate upside down ice cream cone with a cherry as its nose, icing as its eyes, mouth, and decoration.  His Mom didn’t buy those since Timothy liked French vanilla and I never made French vanilla ice cream cones.

One time on their usual visit, I said to him, “Wow Timothy, you are so lucky to have a Mom who brings you to get ice cream every day!”  Timothy replied, “I sure am,” while licking away on his ice cream cone and chatting as he usually did.  There was something about that little boy that made me stop what I was doing just to listen to him talk.  Whenever I was swamped, his Mom would prop him on the counter closest to my decorating area, and he’d continue to talk to me while I worked.  He always made me laugh and smile.  Timothy made me happy.

Unexpected News

I had not seen Timothy in about a week. One day, Timothy’s Mom dropped in by herself and purchased a pint of French Vanilla ice cream.  I asked her about Timothy, she responded that he was ill.  I thought maybe he had a cold or something like that and asked.  Her response left me in shock.  She said, “Timothy has cancer and doesn’t have much time to live.”  She told me that he knew but didn’t understand it too well.

She told him that he could have whatever he wanted in the world and all Timothy requested was a French vanilla ice cream cone every day until the day he went back home to God.  I was speechless and other than “I’m sorry” I didn’t know what else to say.  She smiled, thanked me and told me that most likely she would be able to bring him on Friday or Saturday if he was feeling better.

Anticipating to see him that weekend, I made a single French vanilla clown cone for Timothy and wrote his name on the clown’s hat.  It would be my little gift to him.

Friday came along and in ran Timothy with a massive smile on his face.  I could hear him yell “Hi Miss Debbie” in his sweet child voice.  I turned around from my decorating area and went to greet him.  He asked for his usual French Vanilla cone, and while he ran to the fridge where the cakes and clown cones were, I told his Mom about the clown ice cream cone I had made especially for him and asked if it were okay.

When she gave me the authorization to give it to him, I walked over to where Timothy stood and asked him if he knew how to read his name.  He responded that he did, so I motioned for him to look towards the clown cones.  When he saw his name, he got very excited and asked if it were for him.  I responded that it was and gave it to him.  I will never forget that look of happiness on his face over an ice cream clown.

The Old Dingy Crucifix

The next day, Timothy and his Mom returned.  Timothy had a gift for me.  He brought in an old worn-out, thin cake decorating ideas book and a small gift wrapped by him.  He handed me the book and gift, and I proceeded to unwrap it.  It was the crucifix.  He told me that he wanted me to have it so I would never forget him.  For the first time since I knew Timothy, tears rolled down my cheeks.  He was the sweetest little boy I had known.  I thanked him, he ate his usual French vanilla cone, and they were on their way.  That was the last time I saw Timothy.

A few months went by when his Mom dropped in by herself.  I didn’t need to ask.  I already knew that she wasn’t there to buy ice cream.  She was very sad.  She looked at me and said, “I just want to thank you for your kindness towards my son.  Timothy passed away a month ago.”

The rest of my day was a sad one.  I didn’t know Timothy that well, but he was such a delight that it was easy for anyone to feel love for him.  Remembering that the crucifix was on top of the counter where I decorated cakes along with the cake decorating booklet, I walked towards it.  I took the crucifix in my hand and vowed that I would never part from it or forget Timothy and I placed it in my purse.

So as of today, every time I switch purses, I make sure to transfer the crucifix into my new bag.  And every time I come across it memories of Timothy flood my mind. With no doubt, I will never forget him. Thank you, Timothy, may you rest in peace.  With Love Miss Debbie