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The Tornado

Short story By: Jenny3

This narrative is a real tear jerker, about a life changing event and one brave three year old.

Submitted:Feb 17, 2009    Reads: 255    Comments: 1    Likes: 2   

The Tornado
July 13th, the day I dreaded the most, had arrived. It was a dark morning; clouds covered the skies as I rose from my bed. For me, it was the summer between 6th and 7th grade. This was the day I was going to the orthodontist to get braces. I slowly sat up on my bed, squeezed my eyes tight shut, hoping when I opened them this day would have magically passed by. I was 12 years old, and at that age getting braces was one of the most horrible things that could ever happen to you. It is hard enough being a hormone raging awkward pre-teen, but now I have to have a mouth full of metal to go with it? Just as I stood up from my bed I heard my mom yell to me from down the hall
"Twenty minutes! We have to leave in twenty minutes or we are going to be late!"
"Ok, mom," I whisper back, clearly not hiding my enthusiasm.
I quickly dressed and walked out of my room and into the bathroom. I gazed at myself in the mirror, tilting my head back and forth, opening and closing my mouth, just to get one last look at my normal teeth, because from what the dentist had told me, it would be another four years until I could see myself without train tracks covering my pearly whites. I combed through my hair, brushed my teeth, and walked out of the bathroom. I was greeted by my older sister, Jess, who was carrying my younger sister, Jackie, to the car. As they both passed by me, my younger brother, Josh, teetered passed me like a drunken sailor, the way that toddlers do when they are learning how to walk.
"Come on, Enny," he called to me as he passed; he still had trouble saying Jenny, so for now "Enny" was my name.
I followed, only because I had to, not because I wanted to. We loaded ourselves into the van. I took my place in the front passenger seat, next to my mom, Jackie and Josh were buckled into their car seats, and my older sister, Jess, daintily placed herself onto the bench in the back of the van. My mom started the car and off we went.
As I was saying before, it was a cloudy day, and as we drove to the orthodontist, the clouds seemed to laugh at me evilly as they rolled over eachother in very threatening ways. They were not very dark clouds, so I did not think anything of the weather; my mind was occupied still with the fact that in a few short hours, I would have painful and ugly braces. We pulled up to the orthodontist, and one by one piled out of the van. We walked into the building, and the smell hit me. Dentists, doctors' offices, hospitals, orthodontists, they all had that same smell: the smell of sterilizer and fear. I hated that smell, but I did my best to hind my underlying terror. My mom patted me on the back as the nurse led me to my doom.
"We will be waiting right here when you are done," She said to me with a smile.
I simply nodded and unwillingly followed the nurse.
For three hours, I had to lie on an uncomfortable, white, squeaky clean chair, with my mouth wide open while the orthodontist and nurses poked, cut and glued. Finally, it was over. They sat me up and gave me a mirror. I slowly spread my lips, forming a sad, wide grin, and looked at what would be the next four years of my life. I stood up and stretched while the nurse droned on about how to clean my braces and when to wear my rubber bands and how to floss and brush my teeth, I just wanted to go home.
I walked out into the waiting room and gave a half hearted smile to my mom.
"See? It wasn't so bad," she said to me as she gave me a nudge on the arm.
"You look funny, Enny," my brother declared as he looked up from his Legos he had been playing with.
"Well, thank you.You look funny, too," I retorted at the three year old, who just smiled at the insult.
We packed up our things and headed back out to the car. As we walked out, I noticed a horrible change in the weather. The skies were no longer grey, but black. The wind whipped around me as I jogged to the car. I could hear the trees that surrounded us creak and moan in warning of the weather to come. We all piled back in the car, but since I had gotten to ride shot gun on the way to the orthodontist, my older sister, Jess, insisted that she get to sit up front. I climbed into the back of the van and plopped myself down, being depressed about the horrible metal taste that covered my entire mouth. As we started to drive, I could feel the wind pulling our van in whichever direction it pleased; my mom must have noticed, too because she flipped on the radio to the AM weather station. The man on the radio was saying that there were severe thunderstorm warnings for the surrounding cities, including the one we were in. Since it was just a thunderstorm warning, I tried not to let it worry me, but as I peered up at the now greenish sky, I got a horrible jolt of anxiety that rumbled through my entire body. I could hear my mother mumbling something to herself from the front seat about this not being just a thunderstorm.
I began to think about how in storms, they always tell you not to sit by windows. I looked to my right at the huge window next to me; I decided it might be a good idea to move to the middle seat. Just as I went to take one last look out the window, I saw it: a huge, swirling monster falling from the sky. I reached across my body with my right arm to unbuckle myself in my panicked state. Just as I did so, I heard a huge crash and a blood curtailing scream, then nothing. I frantically looked around, and it was as if time had stopped, but only for me. I saw my mom yelling for me to go to the front of the van and get on the floor. I saw Jess unbuckling my little siblings and tearing Jackie out of her seat as she tucked both of them under the dashboard. Then reality snapped in, and I realized that horrific scream had come from me. I looked to my right where the huge window once was to see that it was no longer there and that my brother, Josh, and me were covered with broken glass. Almost as if someone had shoved me forward, I leapt off my seat and dove to the ground between my mom's chair and the middle bench in the van;just as I did my three-year-old brother, Josh, laid on top of my back; he was protecting me.
I heard my mom praying and Jackie crying; I began to scream, realizing that there was blood pouring from my arm that had been sliced open by the flying shards of glass from the window that had smashed all over me. My brother, who was still on top of me, gently pat me on the back and whispered in my ear.
"It's going to be ok, Enny, it's going to be ok," and laid his face next to mine and squeezed me tight.
As I peered into his soft innocent face, it was then that I realized that I had been selfish: all I had cared about for the last six months was my appearance, worrying that I would look ugly with braces. I realized then, in the midst of a tornado in a broken van on the highway with no shelter, that none of these things were as important as my family. I knew then as my brother clung to my back that everything would be ok, because if I did not have anything else, I would have my family, and that is all I needed. I repeated the words that my brother had spoken over and over in my head, "It's going to be ok," and it was.
After about ten minutes, the car stopped rocking; the horrible sound of whipping wind and large tree branches flying passed, finally stopped as rain began to fall from the exhausted sky. I slowly sat up and put my brother back up on his chair. My sisters peered out from under the dash, and we all looked over at my mom. This whole time, while everyone else was panicking, my mom had stayed calm and did what she had always done best: she protected her family. We all looked around at our outside surroundings and were shocked to find that in the midst of a tornado, my mother had managed to get all of her children home, safe and sound.
Now and then, I think about this event. I think about it when I am driving, or when a bad storm comes through my neighborhood, or simply when someone asks me about the scar on my elbow. But sometimes, this memory flashes through my mind when I am feeling down. And to many people's surprise, it makes me feel better, because I hear in my mind, those words that such a wise three year old whispered in my ear ten years ago, "It's going to be ok," and that's all I have to remember, and I know it will be. With the love and support of my family, I know, everything is always going to be just fine.


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