After the Storm

I will remember: The energy becoming tangible as a city waits. The quiet, and the need for music before the power went out. How quickly something usually taken for granted - heat, water, electricity - can become precious. The man skateboarding through a sea of leaves, lit by a flashlight, and the police car that follows. Neighbors meeting for the first time as they share cigarettes and watch the wind. Flooding on Avenue C. Buildings collapsing on 8th. And the strange peace inside these walls. Conversations in the dark outside the living room window about the eye of a storm and whether the pause in the wind could be just that. Wanting a hurricane buddy to explore the streets with me because there was so much happening and I wasn’t able to get information. So I went by myself. It’s still and quiet and getting colder and if I close my eyes I can imagine this is another place and another storm. The wind has mostly moved on and I am lulled by the drip of rain on wet leaves. I am woken from a reverie by too-close sirens. The one constant. Listening to the neighbor across the hall sing along to what sounds like a ukelele but may also be an electric guitar without electricity. Stitching a hem by hand that has needed to be repaired since summer. Sewing on buttons almost a year after they fell off. The differences in perception when we so often see only the extremes. Is it possible to experience the proverbial calm in the midst of disaster? How different is personal experience from the stories told?