The Boy Who Swam

As little kids we played at the edge of the tide and squealed as the tide carried the sand along with our feet back out to sea,no one was prepared
to watch the tide carry an entire neighborhood with it inland,these were not cackling children
these were adults carrying children running as the tide chased them up the avenues and sidestreets carrying cars surfing the waves in the front yards
The Coast Guard who had boats at the ready with military vehicles were no where to be seen when the full moon reared it’s pull onto the earth
By the time I reached the stalled out caravan with kids inside,the water pressure held the doors closed fish tailing it against a telephone pole
I sent my last famous photo out and jumped up to the sun roof with another neighbor to pry it open
as we opened it the car kicked over speeding into the flow of the water flinging us both into the water which was now carrying us up the street through screaming people tryinging
to get to loved ones
I carried a crying grown man through the street away from the tide but it was not ending,raging water with wailing people dodging projectiles
By the time I had reached my house the furniture was floating,appliances crashing around my mother
I cut the power
Have you ever tried to fight an Irish mother when safety is involved,I don’t suggest it
Within minutes the living room was adrift along my chest so to higher ground we went
Where the water was going to stop,we were not sure and I could not even process my thoughts through the explosions of transformers and neighbors screaming
There was nothing but screams for hours as I watched the water rise to the height of the streetsigns then the streetlights
No boats
No sign of any authorities just neighbors doing what they can for other neighbors even if it was sending them into the tide toward higher streets away from power lines
By 11:30 the screams did not subside expect there were louder ones across the street,I shined a flashlight and feared the worst
and I was right
3 woman,one a disabled amputee and a teen were gasping for breath out of a bungalow as if they we getting air from an overturned lifeboat
i shined a light and yelled,’Cmon you Irish lasses you got this” and the more i watched the more I realised they did’t have it nor will they
My mother looked at me and said you’ll never make it back in a brooding brogue,I smirked..so we watch this then?
She left the room and the discussion was over
I watch the cars float through the streets front bumper down waiting for them to pass with the waves
being on the second story one would think I had to jump into the freezing ocean that was covering the neighborhood
I did’nt
All I had to do was step out the window and push off the house like a gold medal run
The swim was rough with all the debris but I used it to stay afloat as I reached the woman,I grabbed the youngest daughter up to the roof first and without hesistation
she broke the attic windows grabbing anything dry and warm to cover themselves with then helped me pull up the unresponsive grandmother
Her mother being a bigger woman was much harder to get on top of the makeshift bungalow roof and now being in freezing water and now high wind
Finally getting up the pitch of the roof and helping them wrap themselves with the blankets and their body heat
I had to break the sad news to them
There were no boats,there was no help and now it was up to themselves to stay alert and warm..there was no one coming
Kaitlin asked me,”Now how are you getting back,are you going to swim again?’
I was now feeling the effects of the weather,wind and realization
and how the fuck was I going to back it to that window soaking wet,heavy with water and drained
I laughed fearfully, looked at her and said Gernonimo and jumped back towards my house which might have been 3 miles away…
At this point I am still swimmimg in the aftermath beyond the storm,the clean up,the stories
this opera is the strength of a community not just me and it is only the first act

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