That ended the family meeting. Patriarch had spoken.
Over a dinner of box pasta and sauce out of a jar, of salad out of a bag, served in a pot, we held hands and they said grace.
"Jamie, you're not saying grace with us?"
"Grandma, I've told you I'm agnostic. I don't say grace" She frowns the same way when I told her that my boyfriend's an atheist (even worse), that eating animals is cruel, that I don't believe in Santa Claus, or for that matter, Jesus Christ, that I was drunk and upset that we were still there while a hurricane loomed off the shore and our neighbors' houses boarded. She pressed on to find happy things to report, but we all did the same thing today- sit in front of the weather channel with the evacuation notices scrolling across the bottom, fancy maps with possible path projections, stock footage of floating dumpsters and traffic signs bent nearly ninety degrees.
We bring in the rocking chairs.
The house owner, the management company and a local government official called to remind us that after the storm starts, there will be no emergency response, but father said, "I think we'll wait it out." No response say if my father has an overdue heart attack, or my grandmother falls down some stairs with her bionic hips and knees, or if our entire matchbox house is lit up like a lantern. "I think we'll wait it out."
After dinner, dad fell asleep upstairs from too much wine. Little Brother and my grandparents ate icecream and watched a spaghetti western with an actress strongly resembling Bridget Bardot. I drank in my room with the windows open- the breeze flowing in from one window, swirled around my the ceiling fan, and out the other window. I kissed everyone goodnight, moody, so they'd know I still stood where I stood. Kissing everyone goodnight is mandatory so I do that, even though I'm mad.
Friday, September 3, 2010 - 4:09am
My bed is shaking. The whole house is shaking. It sounds like waves are crashing outside my window. It's the sound of waves climbing on each other's backs until their knees are taken out by a sand bar and they come falling one top of the other onto the shore. We're flooding outside. I can hear us swished like the inside of the washing machine. Rain is coming down not evenly. I secretly wish a plank flies through the living room window so that they know I had been right.
I'm lying in bed, listening. I hear a bird somewhere outside and I wonder why it hasn't left. Why it didn't feel the drop in pressure, heed warning and leave. Then I remember that we didn't leave either.
"As of 2 a.m. Eastern Time Friday, Earl was located about 85 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, or about 515 miles south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and had top winds near 105 miles per hour. This makes Earl a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurrican wind scale. Earl is moving to the north-northeast near 18 miles per hour, and is expected to speed up its forward progress and make a gradual turn to the northeast over the next day or two. Earl is also expected to gradually weaken, but its wind field is expected to spread out. " - Mark Avery, Lead Meterologist, The Weather Channel