I was seven going on eight when we started boarding up the house with metal shutters. I would explore the house with the lights off, flashlight in hand, pretending to be an ambitious explorer, seeking an unknown treasure.
I hadn't been concerned with the fact that I was to be shut up in this house for a while, and I don't recall being very frightened on the day that the hurricane finally struck. While I'm sure that my parents were consumed with thoughts of "What if the trees fall over?" or "What we lose power for weeks?", I viewed it as just a bad storm, and considered it to be annoying that we all had to stay in one room.
Seeing the aftermath changed how I felt about it. When we finally stepped outside the next day, I saw shingles and branches scattered throughout the yard, the neighbors' yards looking quite similar. The first time we went out, I saw buildings that were destroyed, debris everywhere. I was sure that nothing would be the same from then on.
Standing in line at Publix, one man told us of how his neighbor had called him, complaining that his roof was now lying in her backyard. I wondered why ours hadn't blown off as well.
Inside the store, the lights were dim, most of the shelves were empty. All we had come for was milk and bread, and it seemed to be the only items that were being sold.
The entire experience was something that I'll never forget, and honestly, I wouldn't want to. I found it to be a learning experience about life.