#ThursThreads Week 431 : This isn’t what I dreamed of.

I looked at the remains of my house, a set of pilings that stuck out of the ground, and some debris scattered here and there. Most of it was gone. Completely gone. Everything in it was gone too. Washer, dryer, bed, computer, desk, gone. Even the 85 inch TV. Gone.

“This isn’t what I dreamed of,” was all I could say. All I could think, as I wandered among the scattered remains of my home.

It was supposed to be a beach house, although a small one, that sat 10 feet above the ground, so floods would pass beneath it. A house where I could sit on the front porch, and watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico every night. Where I could come home from work, change out of work clothes into beach clothes, and walk, barefoot on the sand, for miles.

It was supposed to be my dream home. The place I would spend forever.

A Category 2 hurricane wasn’t supposed to push half the gulf on shore, and then dump 30 inches of rain on top of it. It wasn’t supposed to put my house underwater, and the water wasn’t supposed to take my house with it when it left, leaving my kitchen, bedroom, and the rest somewhere in the gulf, where the fish could live in it, and slowly turn it into a new coral reef.

But the storm had happened.

And everything I had, everything I’d been. Was gone.

245 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 431 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Given the events of 2020, I didn’t have to work hard to come up with these words. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/10/15

Joe studied the crow as it stood at the edge of the puddle, and studied the bugs in the puddle. “Bird,” he thought, “sometimes I wish you could teach me how to eat such things, and not get sick, and puke, and die.”

He watched the crow plunge its beak into the puddle, and come out with a wad of mud, and bugs, and only God knew what else. “But, alas. Through no fault of your own, I cannot eat such things. Though they are plentiful.”

It had been weeks since the big storm. He didn’t even remember its name. Its name didn’t matter. What mattered was it destroyed everything. It tore his little home to shreds, left nothing but a few shattered 2×4 boards, and a jumble of twisted drywall, shingles, and cheap vinyl siding where he’d once spent his nights, safe and warm, in a little bed.

Joe hadn’t slept in a bed in weeks. He hadn’t had a hot, fresh meal in weeks either. And he’d run out of clean clothing weeks ago. He raised his arm, and sniffed under it. “Could probably stand this shirt in a corner by itself.”

The storm had changed everything. No more TV at night. No more radio. No more music to listen to, so he could pass the time. No more job either. The marketplace he’d worked in was gone too. A twisted jumble of boards, cheap store shelving, and shoddy concrete. It worked in the rain. But in the hurricane, it was like a wet sheet of paper. Useless.

There was no place to eat. No power. No gas. No running water. Nothing. The toilets had stopped working. That meant people had to go where they could. Find where they could. They ate what they could find. Joe wondered if there were any weeds, or tree leaves he could eat. Or anything else he could eat.

He’d run out of cans of beans, and corn, and fruit, three days ago. He’d run out of things to drink last night. It had been an adventure. Drinking what milk he had. Then what water. Then everything that was left. Beer. Wine. Even his one bottle of whiskey.

What had been the convenience store in the small marketplace he worked in had posted a sign. “Help yourself.” They let everything go. No charge. Take what you want. Joe found a couple of cans of coconut milk. And a few bottles of Jarritos soda. He’d also found a couple packages of candy bars. But. They were all gone now. He’d had the last of his stash of Jarritos last night.

He had nothing left.

Sometimes, Joe wondered if he should start walking. Somewhere. Anywhere. But he wondered where there was to walk. He already knew from the few visitors the town had seen, the men who brought the truck with the water bottles, the towns nearby were destroyed too. They had no water. No power. No food.

“Help is coming. We know you are here. We are sending help.” That was two weeks ago. No one had died then. But now? Now, the children were dying. They were sick, and they were fevered. And they were dying. And there was no medicine. And no food. And no more water.

Except water like the crow was fishing in. And water from the ocean. And you couldn’t drink the water from the ocean. It would kill you.

Some men had set up fishing nets. They tried to catch fish. But even the fish were gone. They caught a few. A very few. And cleaned them. And gutted them. But. There was no fuel. Joe had tried raw fish once. Two weeks ago. He puked for three days.

He knew. Sooner or later. He’d have to try fish again. Even though it might kill him.

He looked at the crow, stalking bugs in the puddle in what had been the main road of the town. “If only I had a pistol, sir crow. I would shoot you, and see if I could eat raw crow without dying.

He prayed, again, for help from God. Because. He knew. There would be no help from anyone else.

699 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 25th week. Here’s my little story for it. You can read about the challenge here. As usual, don’t ask me where the story came from. I have no idea. It just kind of happened. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

I Never Thought I’d Be Doing This…

Well. I don’t know if this thing works off-line or not. Still haven’t taken the time to verify it does. So, I don’t plan on closing this window until I get home. It’s 2205 hours, on Wednesday, 06 May 2015. I’m sitting at the dining table, or is it better described as the kitchen table, in the Hurricane. I’ve decided that’s what I’m going to call it. The Hurricane. The AC is on (we connected the RV to campground electricity), so we won’t be overheating tonight.

It’s like being in a small house. I mean. If you call a 28 foot long house small. I mean. It’s bigger than a lot of small houses I’ve read about. Pat and I can fit in here quite well. And quite comfortably. There’s lights everywhere. But I don’t have any on in here as I type this. The display on the Chromebook is backlit, so it’s easy to read, and it gives off enough light I can pretty much see the keyboard.

Yeah. I’m a wreck. I’ll sleep. And I’ll probably sleep well. But, I’m a wreck.

We did learn, we need to get a Blu-Ray player to hook up to the entertainment system. That way, we can watch something other than broadcast TV channels on the TV sets. That’s another thing. The TV channels are all digital now. So the picture is either great, or doesn’t show up at all. No more “bad reception” on stations.

She’s in the bed, reading in her Kindle.

I had a rough day. A bad day. But a good day too. I haven’t been sleeping as much, or as soundly, or peacefully the past 2 weeks. As I told my doc, the brain cells are running wide open, trying to process all this new stuff.

What do I mean by new stuff? Well. I can’t really describe it. I don’t know how to describe it. Not yet anyway. But I can give you one example of what’s happening with my perspective on life. Another story Doc and I spoke of today. Washing dishes. See. All my life, I’ve washed dishes, because it’s what you do. The dishes are dirty, collecting in the sink, so you wash them. Black and white. Yes or now. A check box on a checklist called, “how to lead a proper life”. Wash the dishes, check the box.

And back in the days when all I had was my anger, and the energy it provided, this worked well. Because I had to do something with the energy the anger gave me. See. It wasn’t a question of me. How I felt, what I felt, what I wanted or didn’t want, never entered the equation. The dishes were just another part of being a proper person, in a black and white, yes and now, good and evil world.

Well. Now, the anger’s all but gone. I won’t bother you with the details of all the things I’m having to relearn how to do. I’ll just stick with the dishes. And I admit I’m not there yet. It’s a process of discovery for me. Let’s be honest, my autistic nature, with the hypersensitivity of my fingers, means I really don’t like washing the dishes. Getting my hands in that… That… Stuff. Eww. I mean. Just. Eww.

So, I’ve been having a bit of trouble keeping up with the dishes lately, if you call the last 5 months lately, that is. But I digress. I’ve been having problems getting the dishes done, and even getting around to starting them. Because I’ve been learning why. I’ve been learning how I feel about dealing with the dishes.

I told my Doc, and it took me a couple of dozen attempts to get the words I wanted. I told my Doc, I’m learning I don’t do them because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t do them because it’s proper. Or because I’m supposed to. Or because I’m a grown up. I don’t do them for the health benefits of a clean kitchen sink (Do you have any idea how many bacteria are in those suckers? Momma!) I don’t do the dishes for any of those reasons.

I’m learning to clean the dishes because I like having clean dishes, cleaner sinks, and a cleaner and neater kitchen. Right and wrong, good or bad, proper behavior, and all those crappy things we bury ourselves under don’t apply to me doing the dishes. It has nothing to do with any of those reasons. I’m learning about me. About what I feel, and how I feel about the dishes. And as much as I detest dealing with them, I enjoy the feelings I get when I have clean dishes, empty sinks, and a neater kitchen more than I dislike the yuck of having to clean the dishes.

I’m also not a total dingbat on some things. The math is kicking in, and telling me, “If you clean them up regularly, every night, or every morning, guess what? There’s less of them to deal with at any given time! And let’s be honest here. I don’t like putting my hands in a sink full of yucky dishes. I’d much rather put them in a sink that has a few dishes in it, so they’re there less time.

See? That’s something I don’t know how to say yet. I don’t know how to express it in words yet. But that’s what’s happening with me at this time in my life. I’m rewriting all the rules beneath everything I do. And yeah, there will be things I don’t do. They’ll be things I don’t like. Or things I don’t like the benefits of doing. Or some similar reason.

I’ve tried to explain to people around me about right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust, light and dark, and all those moral, ethical things we hammer into ourselves relentlessly from the time we first start becoming aware of how our society works, and what’s acceptable/expected behavior within that society.

Somehow, it gets turned into right and wrong. Somehow it got corrupted. And somewhere, I lost my way. And forget what I feel. How we feel. And how what I feel ties into what I do. If that makes any sense. And I can’t say if it makes any to anyone other than me, and my Doc.

As with the dishes, so it goes with my walking, my picture-taking, my writing, my exercising, my reading, my watching TV, my listening to music. For every aspect of me, I’m actively questioning why I do the things I do. And I’m learning to do what I like. What I enjoy doing. What I like doing. And even the things I don’t like so much, but do like the benefits of doing them. Like the dishes. And the laundry.

It’s been an interesting five-year journey. It’s been five years since this all started. Since I began to question how things were. Since I first stepped outside the box of predefined, acceptable behavior. Since the days I started to wake up. Five years. And I’m only now getting to this part of my journey.

Well. No one said life would be simple, did they. 🙂

Now, I’m gonna go crash for the night. It’s 2235 hours. She’s already crashed. I’ll try not to disturb her too much as I climb under the covers.

Holy crap. I’m gonna sleep in the Hurricane. Wow. Never, ever imagined this would happen. Have no idea how I feel about it. Other than I feel all kinds of stuff. Yeah. All kinds of stuff. Could take me a while to figure out what that stuff is.

The Day After

It’s always the day after an event
That disturbs me the most.
Because.
Usually I’d just let it go at that.
Just say because.
But today,
I try to explain.

I can take the easy way out
And just say,
“It’s an ASD thing.
With my autistic nature,
It’s just the way things are.”
But that doesn’t help anyone.
Certainly not me.

Where to start.
How to explain.
I’ve tried.
I’ve tried for years.
No one understands.

After Columbine.
After the USS Cole.
After Oklahoma.
After 9/11.
After Norway.
After Virginia Tech.
The list is endless.

I always react the same.
I wonder what it is
That everyone around me feels.
Because.
I don’t feel a thing.
Not one damned thing.

My best guess is
It’s an empathetic reaction
That people have.
One of those social skills
I wasn’t born with.
And just can’t seem to learn.

I want to say something.
I do.
But everywhere I go
On the Internet.
Facebook and Twitter too,
It’s all the same.

People saying endlessly,
“My heart bleeds for those of you
Whose lives this storm’s destroyed.”

And I don’t understand.
I don’t understand at all.
Because they were not hurt.
Their lives
Remain unchanged.
How can their hearts bleed
For people they don’t know,
People they have never met,
People a thousand miles away?

I don’t understand at all.

I try.
I do.
I try.

I’ve watched the way people behave.
I’ve listened to the things they say.
I’ve studied their body language.
The moves the make.
The details in the things they do.

I can fake it.
I can imitate it.
I can pretend to feel like them.
I can blend right in.
So no one will know
That I don’t feel a thing.
Not one damned thing.

I end up putting everyone at ease.
Everyone feels better.
Everyone relaxes.
It’s as if their view
Of the world
And how it works,
Just got reinforced.

But I end up in hell.
Wondering how long it will be
Until someone finds out the truth
About me.
That I don’t feel a thing.

It’s not that I don’t care.
It’s not that way at all.
I care for those around me
More than you will ever
Understand.

It’s that to my rational,
Logical,
Linear mind.
The people hurt in an event
Such as the hurricane this week.
Are just like the people living
In Syria.
Being mowed down relentlessly
By their own government.
Or the people that die
Every day.
In car accidents.
Or the children beaten to death
By their own parents.

I don’t know them.

It’s sad,
I know it’s sad.
That these things happen.
I understand that.

And there are times,
Oh, there are times,
When I wish I felt
What other people felt.
So that I could understand,
And know,
Why people react
The way they do
To such an event
As this hurricane.

But instead.
I don’t feel
A single thing.
Not one single thing.

God?
Why did you make me so
Cold?