Five years ago today my school in Mobile forced the students to evacuate.
Five years ago today I drove home with my roommate, glad that school had been canceled, not thinking anything that bad would happen.
Five years ago today I thought, "We've been evacuated two other times in a year already. It's never as bad as they say it is."
Five years ago today my roommate and I went to my Aunt's house for dinner because my parents were out of town. We didn't get to leave because the storm was already so bad.
Five years ago today I had no idea that the next day I would wake up to power outages and trees in the streets from a storm that happened hundreds of miles away.
Five years ago today I had no idea that when I returned to Mobile the next day because the campus had power while my house didn't that I would spend the next few days slowly learning of friends and sorority sisters who had lost all but their lives.
Five years ago today I didn't realize that school would be closed for more than a week while the students from Mississippi and Louisiana tried to pick up what little was left of their lives.
Five years ago today I never imagined that I would travel down I-10 with my boyfriend at the time to help his grandparents clean everything out of their two story house that was flooded halfway up the second floor.
Five years ago today I had no idea that the things that I saw on that drive would be forever etched into my mind. Brown pine straw and leaves up to the tallest part of trees where the salt water had risen and killed them. Boats that had washed up on the roads. The National Guard patrolling the city to keep peace and order. Spray painted doors indicating that the houses were abandoned and had been checked for bodies.
Five years ago today I didn't know that I would be helping my boyfriend's grandmother clean out a closet full of memories as she wiped away the tears. Including letters her husband had written her while he was away at war that were now unreadable.
Five years ago today a monster hit this nation. And I will never forget.