A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
BY MADISON DYE
Family is very important. The people that make up our family are the people that help make up who we are. In my family, we have always been very connected. My mom and her family are very close. My Nana is someone whom I love very much. No matter what happens, whatever we may go through, we go through as a family.
It was a beautiful, slightly cold, almost fall day. I breathed in the fresh, cool morning air as I walked briskly to the door of All Nations Church. Life was good. Fall was coming, and it was my last day of work for the week. I smiled happily as I thought about relaxing with my family at home for the weekend. Humming, I went to work.
Eight and a half hours later, I was ready to go home. It had been a day of playing with and taking care of ten plus three years old’s. I smiled as I thought of them. How I loved these kids! But time to move on with the day. I quickened my steps as I hurried to the car. My mom was outside waiting to take my siblings and I to our first orchestra practice of the year.
“Hi mom! How was your day?” I asked as I hopped in the car.
“Very long and stressful. After orchestra, we have to go to Florida.”
“What? Florida? Are we going to get Nana?”
“Yes. She can’t stay down there by herself. Eat this sandwich before we get to orchestra.”
I sat back and tried to collect my thoughts. My mind went back to the past few weeks. I had known that tropical storm Irma had posed a threat to the people of southern Florida. The storm had rapidly become a category 5 hurricane with winds of speeds close to 140 miles per hour. The Governor had ordered evacuations to the residents, but many had chosen to stay and weather it out. Suddenly, the storm became very real to me. I brought my mind to the present and took a deep breath. We were going to Florida. And Irma was coming. I glanced out the window. What a beautiful late summer afternoon. The sun’s gentle rays were playing across the sky as another day came to a close. I took a deep breath and thought about what could happen with us going to Florida. Part of me was happy, the other part was worried and scared. I adored my Nana and didn’t want her to be stuck in the hurricane.
“What if we get stuck?”
“What if the traffic is extremely bad?”
“What if we can’t get gas?”
“What if the storm hits while we’re on the road?”
All these thoughts were tumbling into my head one after another. I sighed and closed my eyes to talk to God.
“Lord, you know what I’m thinking. I am a little worried about going to Florida. But I know that we must. We have to get Nana. Keep us safe. Amen.”
I shook my head to clear my thoughts then turned my attention to my sandwich.
A few hours later, I finished putting my violin in the car and hopped in. I sighed as I rubbed my forehead. I was so tired but I knew it was going to be a very long night. I leaned back in the car and relaxed till we got to Walmart. I wandered in to buy some food and candy before hitting the road. As my eyes scanned the candy selection, I thought about what my friends had been telling me.
“You shouldn’t go.”
“You will get stuck.”
“You won’t make it out in time.”
“There will be no gas.”
As all these thoughts came crashing back through my mind, butterflies began to creep in my stomach. What if we did get stuck? What would we do? What if we did run out of gas? What if Irma hits while we are in the car? I tried to relax but I couldn’t push the thoughts out of my mind. I let out a sigh as I picked up some chips and walked to the front. I grabbed a juice, checked out, and headed to the car. As I stepped out into the cold night air, I realized that I had no idea what car I was looking for. I paused to think but I heard a honk that I knew was my mom. I looked up and saw a big, sleek, silver car. It was a 2017 Chevy Tahoe. I walked up with a smug look written all over my face. At least we would be riding in style. I climbed in the back seat and surveyed my surroundings. The back seat was quite a bit small. The seats would be perfect for people from China. The seat was so close to the floor that you could cross your legs on the floor of the car. The rear was even smaller. But, it was a nice car. It even had Wi-fi. Though it didn’t work. I thoughtfully arranged my pillows and blanket and settled in. I popped headphones in my ears and leaned back. It was going to be a long ride. A few hours later, I yawned and glanced at the clock. 10:30. I sighed as my eye lids grew heavy and soon closed.
“Mom, where are we? Why aren’t we moving?”
I looked out the window. All I could see was cars. But they weren’t moving. I sat up with a concerned look on my face.
“Are we stuck in traffic? Will we be able to get out before the storm hits?”
My mom glanced back with a worried, grim look on her face.
“Yes dear. I’m afraid we are stuck. I don’t think we will be able to make it out before Irma hits.”
“Does that mean that we are gonna die?” My twin brother Matthew said, looking scared.
Before mom could answer, we were hit with a sudden rush of screaming wind. The rain began coming down like a waterfall. All I could hear was the screaming of the wind. I was suddenly terrified! What if I was to die? What if I never saw my family, friends, home or pets again? I could feel my heart pounding like it wanted to rip out of my chest and run away. I began to scream “save me, save me, save me!” Then, out of nowhere I heard something. It was like this loud hissing that kept getting louder and louder. Matthew yelled “What is that??”
“Ahh, I don’t know, but I doesn’t sound good!”
Just then we saw it. It was a massive mountain of water rushing right at us! We all began to scream and cry with one voice.
I sat up quickly and rubbed my eyes. Where was the mountain of water? Why couldn’t I hear the screams of the wind as it tore at our car? I peeked up front and let out a huge sigh of relief. It was just a dream. I rubbed my pounding temples and took a sip of Sprite. As the fizziness washed down my throat, I gradually relaxed. It was two in the morning.
“There goes sleeping “I muttered to myself, in disgust.
“Can’t even sleep without a silly nightmare.”
I carefully sat up so as to not wake up Matthew, who was stretched out beside me.
Knowing that all efforts to sleep would be futile, I stared at the window into traffic. I was quite a bit unnerved by what I saw. Here we were, driving down I-95 on the South Carolina Georgia border at 2 am. The South bound road that we were on was deserted like a ghost town, while the North bound side was packed with cars. I stared at the sea of lights till it became one big blur. We would have to battle that traffic to leave Florida. The fear of the unknown future threatened to break over me. I pushed it back putting my trust in God. With a weary sigh, I flopped back on my pillow and slept.
Why is there a burning sensation on my eyelid? I wondered subconsciously.
I lazily reached out to draw my hand across my closed eye. As I brought my hand back to my side, it brushed lightly against leather. My brow furrowed. Why was there leather in my bed? As I tried to think with my foggy mind, we hit a bump in the road. I was jolted awake. I shot up and looked around.
“Oh yeah. We’re still driving.”
The clock read 8:23 am. I yawned and again, rubbed my eyes.
“Morning mom and dad.”
I smiled up at my parents. They smiled back through eyes that were heavy with lack of sleep.
“Do you want me to drive for you Daddy?”
“No thanks, Madison.” “We were almost there.” I’ll be ok.”
“Oh ok. How long will we stay?”
“Only a couple hours. We will sleep, make some sandwiches, then head home.”
“What if, what if we don’t make it out?”
“We can only pray. We have gas in the back, we have food and we will try and take backroads when possible. But other that, we have to live it up to God.”
I sighed and turned to look out the window while I listened to my favorite music.
Soon we pulled into my Nana’s house. We had made it. After driving all night, we arrived to rescue my grandmother. I climbed out of the car and I stretched all my stiff bones. As I stretched, I looked around at that area that was about to be hit with a hurricane. Things looked pretty normal. It was a typical morning in Florida. It was hot, sunny and bright. The wind gently danced among the palm trees. It would make one highly doubt that a storm was really coming. But there was no way that we were taking that chance. Right back to Virginia we go. I headed inside to find my Nana. She was in the backyard picking fruit. As I hugged her, I knew that we had done the right thing. Yes, the future was uncertain, yes, we might get stuck and not make it out, but I knew we would be just fine.
We walked into the house and crashed. It had been a long, stressful trip and we needed to rest. The plan was to sleep for a few hours and then head right back out. We didn’t want to be stuck on the road when the storm hit. Later, when my dad awoke, we headed to the store to grab a few things for the trip home. Inside the store, everyone was doing the same thing. There was no water, no ice, hardly any canned food, or bread. People had completely emptied everything they thought they would need. I felt a little uneasy. What if we did get stuck? I sighed as we headed back to the house just as the rain began to fall.
A little bit later, we prayerfully started the 13-hour trip home. It was a long, tense drive. The road for the first part was more or less empty seeing that everyone who planned to leave already had. But once we reached Jacksonville, traffic became intense. We were able to take a detour on the back roads and make it out of Florida. After driving for close to 24-hours, we made it out. We stopped at a friend’s house at 2:30 am on Sabbath morning.
Looking back, I know it was God who took us safely there and back. We saw people on the side of road who had run out of gas, or people who chose to stay. It taught me a lesson of trust. I learned that no matter what happens we must depend on God. The words of Psalms 34:7 come to mind: “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them.”
Eighteen year old Madison Dye lives in Bland, Virginia. She home schooled and also takes college classes. She enjoys working with kids and finds it very rewarding knowing she’s making a difference in their lives. She likes writing because it’s a way to express herself and to be heard.