after the flood


Our house went five days without power. We put a towel under the freezer and went to bed early. The room’s stuffy air felt hotter than the air inside my mouth.

Every day, we went outside to escape the silent house. In the softened, rain-soaked lawn, my husband planted rose bushes we’d bought before the storm. I pruned other roses that had survived the hurricane. Cars drove down the street, saw a blockade from flooding, turned and drove back.

I had just come outside with glasses of tepid water when an SUV stopped in front of our house. “Would you like some water?” asked the driver, holding out a glistening bottle.

“Oh.” Maybe he thought our water had been shut off. “Thank you, that’s okay. We have water.”
“But this is cold.” He got a second bottle from his trunk.
“Are you just out being a Good Samaritan?” Then I saw his name tag. He was from the local grocery store, the one I stop by almost every day on my way home from work.
“We’ll have blocks of ice tonight, too, in case you need to keep your freezer cold.”

Thank you!” I held the two wet bottles and watched him drive away. We hadn’t had anything to drink but lukewarm tap water, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (It could have been worse — we could have had no water.) This guy came along at just the right time.

My husband’s T-shirt was dark with sweat. He accepted the bottle gladly, then got back to digging.


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