Crisp, white snow clung to the sign hanging outside the café. The bell
above the door tinkled as I raised my hands up to the fogging glass,
gently pushing the door open. A waft of warm coffee-scented air
greeted me, making my white cheeks tingle after the cold outside.
Muffled chatter and clinking teaspoons were interspersed with hisses
from the coffee machine as I shuffled slowly over to the corner of the
room, slipping into a worn chair. I mumbled my coffee order to the
waitress standing before me, and turned the newspaper sitting on the
table towards me.
His small, soft hands trembled as the floor underneath him began to shiver.
The winds were no longer whispering, but began to howl over the clatter of plates
and cutlery rattling.
‘Mum?’ Billy whispered.
‘Mum?’ This time more desperate.
‘Mum!’ Billy’s voice could hardly be heard as cracks ran across the windows,
spreading to the edges of the window frame, before exploding towards his face,
despite the layers of tape that had covered the glass. Billy turned away from the
window, holding his head protectively to his knees, as he crouched on the floor. He
squeezed his eyes shut, trying to close himself off, but could still see the whirl of
snapped beams, overturned chairs and broken plates dancing around him.
Photographs that had occupied the broken frames from the mantel piece skipped
along the floor, as if re-enacting Billy and their mother’s lives.
Despite the warmth around me, I shivered. Reading about the
recent events happening near my hometown gave me a longing to be
at home, and I hoped my family hadn’t been affected, although I was
quickly distracted by the movement of an approaching waitress, who
looked as worn as the smudged apron she was wearing. She carelessly
plonked my mocha on the table, letting the dark liquid slosh over the
edges of the mug. I sipped gingerly at the coffee, rolling it over my
tongue, tickling each and every one of my tastebuds, before
swallowing and letting the smooth, river of warmth run down my
throat and into my growling stomach. I turned my attention back to
the newspaper, scanning the map of cities and towns affected by a
hurricane in the very state in which I had grown up.
Just hours after the hurricane struck, the remaining members of the town
were already clearing up the houses that were still in a relatively good condition,
and searching among fallen wreckage for survivors. Helicopters surveyed the mess
like eagles preparing to swoop upon their prey, as volunteer workers clambered
over piles of debris. By the time the sun was sitting on the horizon, a fine drizzle