March 12, 2011
6:50 – I took the day off, it’s the end of my school’s spring break so it’ll be a quiet Friday anyways. We laid in bed waiting for the time to tick by when we would get up; my fiancé to get ready for work, me to drop her off and head to a coffee shop to study for my grad class.
6:55 – Light was starting to shine through the window, it’s snowing again. I just wish it would get warm at least warm enough for our wedding. I check the weather on my phone, still says cloudy with a small chance of rain. I hope it clears up.
7:01 -My phone rings, it’s my mom. “A major earthquake has hit Japan and Tokyo has suffered damage.” What?! I run downstairs and turn on the TV, my fiancé is in the bathroom getting ready, I need to check how serious this is first, before I worry her. Besides, Japan has had earthquakes in the past and no one was ever hurt. Right?
Pictures of fallen buildings flash across the screen only cut off when they turn to video clips of the tsunami roll across land, blanketing the earth in a layer of mud, water and debris. “Is her sister OK?” What? I’m still on the phone. I don’t know.
My soon to be father-in-law stands next to me, I must have said something to him, but I don’t recall. He simply looks at me and then turns back to the TV. Somewhere in there is his family, my family, our family.
I hang up the phone and run to the stairs to tell my fiancé the news, her legs bow as if they are about to go out from under her and there is nothing I can do. She rushes down the stairs and can do nothing but sit there and watch the TV screen. Ruth!?
Shit! Work. No time to let it sit, before we know it we are out the door and on our way to normalcy, to work as if nothing just happened.
The snow pelts the windshield and sloshes beneath our tires. I hand my pocket notebook to my fiancé, she thumbs through it looking for her sister and cousin’s telephone numbers. She passes up the page over and over again unable to find what she is looking for, the tears well up in her eyes.
I pull into her work and we both rush in, her to check her email for any notifications from her sister, me to start up the computer and buy some Skype credit so we can call Japan. “She’s Ok.” An email has been sent out, she is alive, she is OK but everything is not OK.
The earthquake hit, shutting down power, phones and the subway system. Her sister walked around Shibuya, a large busy hub, searching for her husband who works in the same area and luckily found him. Their daughter was able to be picked up from daycare by a neighbor, they weren’t going to make it home tonight its an hour train ride home, too far to walk. Instead they walk 4 hours to the house of a cousin, communicating via email to let everyone know they were OK. Powerful aftershocks every 10 to 20 minutes racking their nerves preventing anyone from getting a good night’s sleep.
Kanagawa wasn’t hit as bad but was still overall affected. They were able to make it home, and stores remained open but supplies wouldn’t last long. By the end of the weekend all food and water was gone. Their daughters school and daycare has been closed and the ground around her work building is cracked and crumbled. Do you go to work, sit on the 15th floor and act like everything is OK, that everything is normal?
I can’t tell you where things will go from here for them, but it is an odd sort of thing to sit in my office on a Monday morning, to talk about my upcoming wedding, which will take place in 3 days or even just go about my normal routine when so much has happened. Things that are far off and tragic, hit closer then ever before. This is a place I just visited, these victims are my family. Where do we go from here?
The American Red Cross is accepting donations to help with relief efforts. Please click the link below and give to a good cause.
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