The clouds started rolling in one-by-one. I wasn’t prepared for a storm; the forecast had shown not a cloud in the sky from Miami all the way to New York City. It started out small, like the small sun showers that leave the day looking more beautiful than ever before. The kinds that leave a rainbow in the barely-gray sky and make us appreciate all the sunshine in our lives.
That’s how you seemed at first. You didn’t bring any thunder or lightning with you, yet you made me appreciate the sunshine that I thought you gifted me with. I thought I could always depend on you to keep me warm. You were comforting, like the soft pitter-patter of the nighttime rain on the windowsill outside my bedroom, holding me as I drifted off to a blissful sleep. I could have spent a lifetime in your embrace until a loud unexpected clap of thunder jolted me awake.
My clock read 2:48 a.m., nowhere near morning time. The sun shouldn’t be out. The birds shouldn’t be chirping their warning songs at me. The grass shouldn’t be quivering as the morning dew arrives. Tree branches ferociously struck my bedside windows with a violent threat of an oncoming storm. I shivered beneath my blankets as I braced myself for rain. And boy, did it rain. I found the saying to be true: When it rains, it pours.
Lightning replaced the sunshine I had in my life, and the peaceful sounds of rain were overpowered by the frightening thunder that kept me awake at all ungodly hours of the night. You shook my life like a whirlwind without a warning, with the weather of paradise being suddenly replaced with a deadly storm that I was left to weather alone. You moved on, leaving fires, brokenness, and destruction in your wake, and I learned. I learned to be prepared and to guard what was precious to me. I learned that evacuation warnings should sometimes be heeded. But most of all, I learned that weathermen name hurricanes after people for a reason.