I woke up this morning acutely aware of what day it is….what day it was a year ago. March 2, the tornado.
One year. Wow. One year ago today, my world was literally picked up and thrown upside down. One year ago, at almost exactly this time, I was standing in my front yard, soaked to the skin and surrounded by chaos.
I was afraid of this day. I was afraid of the memories and the trauma echoing back up. I was afraid of the TV, the radio, random conversations with people: all reminding me of something I could never forget. I was afraid the flash-backs would return.
Instead, today I was given something else. Today, I was given a different March second.
It is not the memories that define this day, it is the differences.
It’s Saturday, not Friday. It’s a work day, not my one day off. I was woken by alarms, not my alarmed mother. It is cold and snowing, but the wind is barely blowing. I remember how last year, I was so upset that the weather was interfering with my plans to go to Clarksville to shop…today, I spent almost nine hours in Clarksville, but I wasn’t shopping. My hoodie is gray, not purple. I haven’t forgotten how to drive today. I’m writing this on my iPad, not clutching a pink laptop, hoping that I don’t lose whatever I forgot to back up. I remembered to charge my phone last night…unlike last year. I spent the majority of today indoors. Last year, I was mostly outside; and even when I did go in, the outdoors followed me (since we were rather lacking in walls at the time.)
I am wearing the same shoes as I did on March 2nd. They’re wet again this year, but that is from two hasty showers at work and not from walking through rain, hail and puddles.
The differences stack up like a wall between these two days, reminding me that, while this might be an anniversary, it is not a mirror. Today is its own day, a perfectly normal day that I am sure I will completely forget about in time.
People ask me what I remember most about that day, that other March 2nd. I don’t have a one-sentence answer for that. I remember the rain. I remember huddling against a church wall. I remember Michael hugging me. I remember Kim’s Skittles jacket. I remember a green sky. I remember the rainbow. I remember friends saying “I thought you were dead!”
What has stuck with me most about that experience would have to be the glass. Since The March 2nd, I can’t stand broken glass. I always stare at it for a moment now, before I clean up. Shattered glass means chaos, tragedy, bad things happening, terror and fear. Others have noticed this metaphor in my writings post-tornado.
I was composing this in my head as I was coming home from work. As I was coming up the last hill before my house, I paused to take in the damage one year later. Trees still look like toothpicks; the cemetery is still missing to o many headstones. There’s still metal stuck up one tree like a flag.
That is the new normal, one year later.