Socially Unacceptable Post 33: Aftermath

“Sometimes, the aftermath is more devastating than the storm.”

– Chrystia Freeland

The weeks after the hurricane were a chaotic mess. At first we were fine. We didn’t have a lot of canned food, or really food in general, but the neighbors all pitched in to help each other. We had a decent amount of water.

And it wasn’t that bad. No power, no internet, and the yard looked like a wasteland. Where a forest had been were only a few scattered trees. The house was in perfect shape, except for a dent in the gutter—as opposed to some of the houses nearby, which were missing shingles or their entire roof. As plane flight after flight was canceled, and my vacation of eight days stretched into an uncertain future, I began to almost…relax. I wanted this to last. I didn’t want to go back to the days of video-calling Marie daily, of phone calls on work breaks.

My parents frantically texted, while I was only able to send the occasional text.

Then everything went to hell. We were informed that no more supplies would be brought to the island, and that everyone would need to get on a boat and get the fuck out of there. We were allowed to bring pets.

Unfortunately, the definition of pets is strict. Dogs and cats. Not chickens. Not pigeons.

There was talk of leaving them with a handful of neighbors who refused to leave the island, but they were reluctant to agree.

Marie and I decided we were not leaving the island without them. First we made a bunch of calls and tried to get a boat that would be willing to transport the birds. After numerous efforts, Marie pulled that off.

But there was still a problem. Once off the island, we had nowhere to go with all the animals. We called in all our favors. We came up with a crazy plan to get Marie, the birds, and I all the way to Pennsylvania. My parents agreed to board Marie for two weeks. A work friend offered to care for the chickens.

We just needed to convince someone to drive us for twenty hours. We could pay to have them flown down, at which point we would need to rent a vehicle. After days of searching, Marie’s friend agreed to do it and we made plans. All of the puzzle pieces slid into place. Then Marie’s friend started talking to her father, and flaked out at the last minute. Everything fell apart. Another person agreed to do it after I offered a thousand dollars to any friend who was willing. But they were not 21 so they couldn’t rent a car.

I laid awake most of the night, desperate. Eventually I had to admit to myself that the reason I wanted this harebrained scheme to work was because I wouldn’t be able to stand being a thousand miles away from Marie anymore. I wanted to be able to touch her. I wanted to be able to kiss her. I wanted her face to be the first face I saw every morning. I wanted to drink goat’s milk hot chocolate with her. The stuff with the honey and cocoa powder she makes for me, not those cheap packets I was used to in Pennsylvania. I wanted to hold her hand. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to learn all the names of the chickens and pigeons.

That was when things started to click into place, when for once in my life I got my priorities straight and made a decision based on what I wanted. What was the one thing dragging me back to Pennsylvania? My job. A job I liked, with the ability to work from home.

Well, fine then. If I had to choose between my cushy, safe job and Marie…

I told Marie what I had decided. That I wasn’t evacuating. That I wasn’t going to try to salvage my job. That we could stay together on the island and keep each other safe. And I would stay with her as long as her father permitted.

She asked her father if I could stay. And he said I could. Indefinitely.

And that was how a hurricane convinced me to move in with my girlfriend.

Post 33 in Socially Unacceptable: The Daily Life of a Queer Schizophrenic Wreck (2022)

This is an autobiographical series about my life, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I intend to add new content daily.

For the whole series, follow this link.

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