She told me to get into the bathroom. She and I stood in the bathroom holding onto each other as the sound of either a bomb going off or a freight train blasting through the living room surrounded us. We prayed. We screamed. I didn't know what was happening. I thought it was the end of the world. But it was a tornado.
When we opened that bathroom door we were confronted with the ruins that were formerly our house. My sister's Barbie dolls were still sitting perfectly in their chairs and houses. But my brother's bedroom was gone. Nothing left but a slab of concrete. Three people were dead. We didn't learn that until later, on the news.
I remember screaming for help. I remember not knowing the whole neighborhood was destroyed.
All of our stuff was covered in insulation. I was allergic to the fiberglass in it and broke out in hives. We found one of our cats that day. and the other one, Tuffy, came running out of the ruins, cut and bloodied paw on him, the next day. I cried when we found him. I took him to the paramedics and they bandaged him up. The Red Cross or the Salvation Army gave me some tuna fish for him.
After I saw what had become of the mobile homes nearby, the way they had toppled like so many toothpicks, I vowed never to live in a mobile home in my life. I became afraid of storms and tornado warnings. For some years I would get scared every time there was a warning. But the day we lost our house we had heard no warnings.
My heart goes out to everyone who has survived, and to all those who have died, in Oklahoma in the devastating tornadoes today and yesterday. I can only hope that we will help our fellow humans through this difficult time. A lot of people helped us after our tornado. And time, time helped. I'm not that scared by storms now. But I will never forget.
After our tornado, I dropped out of high school. I was an honors student, but with the eating disorder and the loss of all my belongings and my home, I didn't want to deal with the stress of my senior year anymore. I dropped out and I would live to regret it but that tornado deeply affected the trajectory of my life.