December 30, 2005
-- Hurricane Journal --
Christmas cheer in a FEMA camper
By Samantha Perez
Monday, Dec. 26, ,
Ponchatoula , Louisiana
No one can predict what happens in life. Fate is crazy like that. Sometimes, Fate makes life good, warm and sweet like freshly baked cookies. You meet people who care about you or you gain a friend. You walk through a parking lot and find a shiny penny face-up on the ground. But no matter how many good things happen, there are other times when Fate turns cruel. You lose your home in a hurricane or, worse, you lose yourself and become hurt and confused.
Christmas was yesterday. I played my flute for Midnight Mass with the church choir. Even though he had to go to work early the next morning, Dad came to church with my mom and listened to me play. I had a few solos, and when I played, the people in the pews below me turned and looked up at the choir loft. They turned to look. They turned to watch me play.
We came home after Mass and opened a few presents, because Dad would be working on Christmas Day. Mom had bought me the first season of Jonny Quest, and Dad and I were both really excited about it. Mom and Dad fell asleep on the sofa while I watched Jonny Quest until in the morning. Then, Dad woke up and left because he needed to be at work for -- and work for him is back in St. Bernard, over an hour away.
I have been looking back lately, thinking about everything that’s happened. In a way, it’s a frightening, statistical wonder. In the months since the weekend of the hurricane, I have lived in four separate locations: a house, a hotel, a dorm room and a FEMA camper. I have been enrolled in three different schools. At night, I sleep on a sofa, a space heater plugged into the wall beside me. I drive on the interstate to get to my new school, where the people around me do not know me. This is my senior year of high school.
To read the rest of this entry in Samantha's amazing hurricane journal, click here.