Have you ever wondered why they name hurricanes after people?
You started off small; just a tropical storm off the coast, nothing serious. I didn’t see it coming — no one really did. You seemed innocent enough, bringing just a little bit of bad weather into my life. A quick rain shower, nothing an umbrella and a raincoat couldn’t handle.
We were just friends. Good friends, friends that shared thoughts, feelings, dreams and fears, but friends all the same. I never thought I’d end up dating you — no one did — but it happened all the same.
You grew bigger. Storm warnings were issued. People were warned to board up their houses. Some people — people like me — didn’t think you were going to be anything serious. I can handle this, I said, and even if it gets scary, I’ll be able to deal with it.
I was wrong.
I was falling in love with you. The way you walked, the way you talked, the way you smiled at me when I did something ridiculous. Don’t get too attached, I was warned. Don’t depend on someone else to be happy. I didn’t listen — no one could ever understand how I felt — and instead, I brushed it off.
Good news — you’re moving back out into the ocean. You won’t affect us the way everyone said you would. I always loved a good thunderstorm, and that’s what they said you were going to be, just a stormy night, one of those nights where the rain lashes against the window.
They were wrong.
The rain comes down heavily; the wind picks up causing trees to sway crazily, threatening to fall. You were the perfect storm. I could appreciate a good rain; I could handle it. I didn’t think this could ruin me. I didn’t think you could ruin me.
I’m in over my head. I truly believe I won’t be able to ever live without you, but I also believe that I won’t ever have to. I trust you and I have faith in our relationship. Why shouldn’t I? It’s not as though you’ve ever given me reason not to.
It’s getting worse. News reporters stand out in the rain, screaming into their microphones. Very dangerous, they say, evacuate if you can. I have a chance to escape, to get away, but I don’t think I want to leave. I fell in love with the way the rain touches my skin, the way the wind blows my hair off my shoulders. The wind whispers in my ear that it loves me, that I can trust it, so I do.
Why did I do that? Why did I look through your private things? Most importantly, why did you even have that? Why was it even there to find? Suddenly, I’m reading conversations not meant for me to see and my world is collapsing in.
The time to evacuate is over. You’re getting worse. You’re as big as you’re going to get — or so I thought. You have me exactly where you want me. I don’t think I could escape even if I had the intentions to. I trust you. You won’t hurt me.
And just as I thought, you start to move out. The rain subsides to a drizzle. Clouds break apart in the sky long enough for a few beams of sunshine to radiate out. I knew it. I knew I could trust you, I think as I walk outside, my arms outstretched, soaking up the sun. The reemergence of the sun after a rainstorm always felt a little sad to me, just a little bittersweet, a beautiful beginning only gained after the end of something equally as beautiful.
Everything will be fine, I tell myself. This is only a little bump in the long, beautifully paved road we’ve created. We’ll be just fine. This doesn’t have to tear us apart. I’m feeling better about it — it’s nothing really, nothing we can’t work out.
But just as soon as I was beginning to get used to the feeling of the sun on my back, you came back with a vengeance. You picked up right where you left off, quickly becoming more ferocious than anyone had expected. Why? I ask you, I trusted you; why would you do this to me? Trees begin to fall. Trashcans fly through the air, slamming into cars. Windows break, and in the distance, car alarms sound.
You tricked me. The calm before the storm — I had heard other storms often did that, pulled that kind of stunt, but I didn’t think you’d be one of them.
It’s over. You ended it like it was nothing to you. You ruined us. I wasn’t worth it anymore; I wasn’t worth the struggle, the work, the effort. Just like that, three years dissolve to nothing, and I’m left shaking.
The rain is coming down so hard I’m scared the roof will crumble. The power line across the street comes down with a large oak that’s been there for upwards of years, and a small electrical fire starts. It grows bigger and bigger until it’s uncontrollable. You were uncontrollable. I try to hide in the basement — that’s where they say it’s safest, away from the windows — but it starts to flood, water coming in from the small windows, and that’s when the power goes.
I’m scared. I’m wet. I’m unable to control what’s going on and it’s terrifying. Most of all, I’m angry with myself for trusting you. I sit in the hall closet, my arms hugging my legs as close to my body as possible, and like this I wait out the rest of the storm.
It’s over. You’re gone. You couldn’t leave peacefully. But I didn’t expect you would — that’s not your style. Trees line the roads, making it impossible for traffic to pass through at some points. The police report that the casualty number is rising. I’m not surprised.
You’re gone but you left me to deal with the damage. As you left, the sun reemerged again, and things felt as bittersweet as ever as I was left alone to survey the wreckage.
It’s been months since you hit but I’m still rebuilding my house. The flowers in my yard are just starting to grow again.
They don’t just name hurricanes after anyone — they name hurricanes after people like you.