Last night, sleep kept being snatched out of me with the wind howling nonstop. Strong gusts lashed against the deck chairs we left out in our balcony, the wooden fence around our neighbour’s garden and seemingly everything else within the neighbourhood’s courtyard.
Earlier in the evening, I stubbornly took my bike out to cycle to my Dutch class. I told myself I was in need of some exercises after 10 hours working at the desk. My boyfriend told me that I was just silly. Perhaps I was. The wind was strong and veered constantly. I felt the rain coming from all directions. My bike wobbled now and then along the ill-lit bike path.
Luckily, the rain has gone when I cycled back home. The grass smelled strangely fresh, like a piece of spring nature has forgotten to take away, as if the dreadful weather has never happened.
I woke up at 2 a.m because I heard a loud blow. Was that the fence? My boyfriend wondered out loud in his sleep if everything was nailed down. It did sound like a gale was blowing up everything. I remembered checking the wind speed before turning off the light: 40mph. Lying half awake, I tried to remember the numbers I used to hear on TV in Vietnam every storm season, for a comparison. No more numbers came to my mind. Instead, my brain wandered off to the story about the possibility of a deadly earthquake followed by a tsunami in America. Still no numbers, but a sense of fear. And an advice: The best thing to do in a tsunami is not being there when there is a tsunami. Nature can be fearsome.
I wondered what happened after tsunamis. Would people who have survived ever forget about it? What does it take to get over the fear and the loss? For how long and at which cost? Do they blame anyone? Do they think about vengeance?
I thought about Paris, a different type of disaster. Or is it? Should people react to fear and loss the same way whether they are caused by nature or another human being? Could it just be about empathy and hope?
I was wide awake then. Out there, the wind showed no sign of stopping. It lashed and howled for all the pain that human being are suffering.
I rolled to my right, lifted my head up so I could place it on the open shoulder next to me. I reached my left hand to the other side of the bed, tucked the palm safely underneath his head. “Maybe if I closed my eyes now, I would drift back into sleep as if none of the dreadful things has ever happened.”