you say tornado, i say get thee to the basement

It’s 1am and I’m hunkered down in the basement of my home. A few minutes ago, our mobile phone alarms sounded off before blasting out the news of a tornado warning in our area. This was quickly followed by another round of alarms and news of a flash flood warning in effect for our area.

This seems like a tricky situation, right? A catch-22. A cosmic joke, really. The basement is the first place we go to take cover for a tornado but the last place we’d go for a flood.

tornado on body of water during golden hour
Photo by Johannes Plenio on

Nevertheless, here I am in the basement, waiting it out, writing my daily post.

Prior to this, the closest brush I had with a tornado was when I was a pre-teen. I lived with my parents in an upstairs flat. There was no basement to go to so we watched the skies turn green from the bedroom window. That’s all I remembered other than the aftermath of upended trees throughout the neighborhood.

While waiting in the basement this morning, my sister revealed that I had blocked out a crucial memory of the childhood event. Apparently, the tornado caused the massive tree in the front yard to topple onto the building we were living in. The tree blocked the stairwell, trapping us in the apartment. Dad had to climb over the downed tree to find help removing the obstacle.

Strangely enough, the knowledge of this lost memory disturbs me more than the threat of a tornado outside.

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I’ve left the basement now that the storm has passed. All is safe here. I feel especially lucky but curious to know what else I might have forgotten.

an ode to forgetting

anxiety bearing circle color
Photo by Pixabay on

The panic comes unbidden, triggered by random things: lightbulbs flickering, a stalling engine, the memory of a dream no longer achievable. It grabs at my chest with a cold hum then creeps outward. Its icy hands squeeze my lungs, quicken my breath. It drains the body of all soft things, empties the bone of marrow, renders me bit by bit into a viscous fluid that collects into a quivering pool beneath me. The remorseless chill moves up my spine, encircles my skull. It brings forth the certain knowledge that I’m here on borrowed time which will be over far sooner than any preparation could bear. I am frozen, counting time in each shallow breath until my flesh reconstitutes and I can, once again, forget.