Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crossing--A Post-Storm Memoir, Day 5

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Written by flashlight:

9:30 am:  Woke up.  S has a play date today.  Yesterday, we were able to receive a text from a mom in Brooklyn wanting to help.  Via A, I was able to send a message than my kid really wanted to leave the frozen zone.  And we arranged a time and place to meet.

S. wanted Grandma to drive down from Rhode Island to get her, but the mayor was restricting all non-essential travel into Manhattan--drivers needed two passengers to enter.

The next best thing were Brooklyn friends--we would meet up with the mom at noon.  We would stand out in front of our apt and wait, not knowing for sure if she would really show up.  We'd have no way to check in with her if she didn't.  

First we had to eat.  S really wanted something hot.

I said, "I saw a cafe on Ave A that was advertising a hot breakfast yesterday."

Heartened, we left the apt, headed towards it.  It was closed.  S was bummed.  

"They were only offering oatmeal," I said.  "Would you have eaten that?  What did you want anyway?"

"You know, pancakes.  Eggs."

"Forget about it," I said.  "No one's going those things."  We live in one of the best restaurant neighborhoods in the city, with restaurants ranging from the food from the underrepresented Yunan province of China to the respective cuisines of Spain, France, Vietnam, Italy, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Cuba, Columbia, India, Germany, Turkey, etc . . . to  new American, where one can get a kale cocktail.

Pancakes and eggs have suddenly become exotic dishes.

I chuckled grimly.  My kids' dystopic YA novels had become our life.  

Instead, for breakfast, we bought granola bars and a couple of stale bagels at our usually upscale deli.  It looked a little tattered around the edges now.  Plus, it was as quiet as a church.   No sounds but the rustle of bills.  Coins retrieved from a paper bag.  

At just after noon, the Brooklyn mom showed up and whisked us away in her car and up over the Williamsburg Bridge.   It was the land of power:  West Germany to our East Germany,  South Korea to our North Korea.  At her apartment, I checked my email. And then--long story--we ended up having to check S for strep--running her over to the Brooklyn mom's doc.  Oh, and I charged my phone.  While sitting at the Brooklyn mom's table, I described my situation to another Brooklyn mom who happened to be there and I burst into tears while describing the frozen zone.  I don't know why I was crying.  It felt ridiculous to cry.  I had been whisked by car into Brooklyn.  I had a house that was dry.  No one I knew had lost their lives.  Still, my whole life had shifted dramatically.  I couldn't work; the kids weren't allowed to go to school, not to mention none of us had showered or been really warm in awhile.  Days into it, we were all starting to feel a bit lost.  

And then I  had to hurry back to our zone to meet our other kid.  I had forgotten to leave her a note to let her know where we were and when I'd be back, so she wouldn't worry.  And I had to trust she'd get back before nightfall.  

She was.  

I left S in Brooklyn that night.   By candlelight, Z and I ate the Thai food I brought back in from Brooklyn.  We listened to the hand-crank radio we had borrowed from our friend the day before.   The local NPR-affliated talked about nothing but the storm, the power outage, the destruction, the gas lines.  People called in from all over.  I didn't know how they were able to make these calls.  

Once our charged DVD player was brought back from A's work, we watched the Hunger Games.  I didn't want to; I really resisted, but this was what Z wanted to watch at this time.  It was excruciating.  We were living in District 12.  

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