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Apr 2020
I sat there in my apartment
eating a cheeseburger
from Hardee’s on 15th Street. The
sound of my VCR and my
own thoughts comforted me. My friend
the internet kept me connected
to my boyfriend which I appreciated. The weather
outside had told me of strange burst of winds.
The radio had told me
of tornadoes in Tuscaloosa. A girl in December
told me I was safe to go home if
I lived nearby. School was over
and I didn’t feel like cooking, which
explained the Hardee’s. I chewed and chewed
like I had not a care in the world. I was eating,
I was in my apartment,
I was safe.

Then everything went black
and silent in my apartment.
Everything except the strange
sound outside my apartment. I heard it
just after my apartment was silenced.
“What the hell is that?” I asked myself,
because I lived alone. I walked
to the window, the blinds already shut.
I peeked outside. I saw the devil outside my window.
It was as tall as the sky, as wide as a mile, and angry. It roared
and threw everything it swallowed randomly.
It was 100 feet away, and coming closer. I closed
my blinds and blinked.  Disbelief set in for a moment.
“I did not just see that.” I told myself.
“You should look again”, myself told me.
So I peeked out the blinds again. The devil
was still there and coming closer. It was
not a nightmare. It was not
a figment of my imagination.
It was there and I was in danger.
I felt the danger wash over me. Fear
tasted like impending death
that day, bitter and stuck in my throat.
I grabbed my cell phone and a quilt
that use to rest on my parents’ bed
until I was allowed to take it.
I ran to the bathroom,
still tasting fear. I called
my mother as the devil
came closer.

“Mom! There’s a tornado outside and it’s coming to get me!!”
I’ll admit, I panicked,
but you would too if
the devil was right outside your door
and you didn’t know
if this was the end.  
“Now is the time to go into survivor mode”
my mother informed me in a calm voice.
So after screaming and panicking and
not dying of a panic attack,
I closed my eyes and became calm.
I waited for a calming outside
before I explored the outside. There was
some damage to my apartment, significant damage
to my apartment building, 7 out of 8 of my windows
in my van were imploded from
the pressure of the devil,
worse damage to my connecting neighborhood
(but no deaths, though somewhere not far
from there a house killed some students)
and no Alberta City.
My damages felt insignificant in comparison to that.
On April 27, 2011, there was a large tornado that tore through Tuscaloosa. I wrote some poetry about my experience and made it into a small booklet. This was my experience in a nutshell.
Written by
Matese Towns Prestridge  35/F/Selma, Alabama
(35/F/Selma, Alabama)   
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