It’s a Twister! In Brooklyn?

“Never before.” “Not in Brooklyn.” “I saw one boy fly by!” I suppose this makes up for anything we were expecting from Hurricane Earl. Just as Padma was about to announce this season’s Top Chef winner, it hit. I decided to at least hit pause on the Hulu and shut the windows, and in that split second, the sky turned puke yellow. The lighting before this was very calming and beautiful that the stark and striking juxtaposition completely caught me off guard. There was a sudden gust of wind and then an opaque sheet of rain. At that same instance, Juno the cat felt like jumping into the window to check out what was going on. She was blown back from the ledge and plopped safely, yet severely disturbed, into our overstuffed arm chair. Also in that moment, I was able to watch a slightly round woman get blown up from the ground and then bounce back down again. It was like an involuntary bunny hop with a dash of bewilderment. Juno watched from her statuesque pose of fear as I rushed to shut all the windows in the house. It was so bad that I was almost afraid to go near the windows. I always wondered what “sheet of rain” really meant, now I know. It’s literally a sheet of rain. Get it?

Even now, after it’s calmed down, I can hear sirens of every kind (not that that’s much out of the ordinary, however…) The neighborhood is completely teeming with people, checking out our block. The burnt building across the street is now missing two of its plywood windows, and the neighbors next door now have a leaking, caved in roof.

I’ve seen trees uprooted before, but never on top of a 2003 beige Ford Taurus. It belongs to the Buddhist monks that live on our street. (Yes, we have Buddhist Monks on our street, I love Brooklyn.) As I ventured out, and took my Cannon Rebel of course, I decided to make my way to the crowd of people surrounding the Taurus’s tragic fate. One monk, taking pictures, told me that it was literally only 5 minutes that they had come in from the storm. And then he said something that struck me harder than the tornado. “You never know if you’re going to die”. I didn’t know what to say to him. I was taken aback as I stood, staring at the gnarled roots of the over-turned tree. Branches were intertwined with metal frame and shards of glass. The brand new, wrought-iron tree guard sticking up from the ground at a severe 80 degree angle. I was completely mesmerized. Perhaps it was the slow-dying adrenaline in my veins, or the small Asian man wearing only a thick sheet standing next to me, but I knew then that I had to write all this down, get it out, and figure out why this was so important.

You never know if you’re going to die.

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