One year since Irma

Georgiana Unanue, Creative Writing

Irma: María’s little sister, the precursor, often forgotten in the shadow of a larger, Macondian, earth-shattering tempest.

For Irma we were scared. Scared because we didn’t know what to expect. Scared because the media outlets told us to be. Scared because it was the first big hurricane to come our way that season. Scared because fear is contagious and it’s easy to imagine a million horrible scenarios when you see a yellow and multi-colored spiral of destruction the size of a small country swirling towards you on a map you can only sort of read.

And yet, we still hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as the wizards of meteorology predicted. And it wasn’t. That’s not to say that telephone posts and trees and remnants of some roof or other didn’t litter the ground like discarded toothpicks in the aftermath of the storm. But for the most part, we were left standing upright, if a little bit hunched over, as if by some miracle the sky had let out a small exhale, a whisper of breath just strong enough to tilt Irma off course and spare us yet again. And so, when María was forecasted we weren’t that worried, we’d come out of Irma in one piece, more or less. Guiltily we had withstood the winds that had decimated our neighbors in the days before us, we had survived the brunt of it we thought.

And yet, María came. She shattered through all our reinforced windows, and brought us to our knees and we shat ourselves because Jesus, we knew it’d be bad but we never expected to become another one of the too many islands in the Caribbean calling for aid, joining the chorus we had been working to relieve only weeks before.