Introduction, page 2
April 27, 2011, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Forest Lake neighborhood
I actually heard it first. I’m from Iowa, so no tornado stranger. After the sirens went off, I perked my ears a little bit. I figured if I actually heard a tornado, I would quickly take cover. Where? Hadn’t given it much thought, really, but probably the closet in my bathroom. Laying there, listening. Starting to hear a weird sound. Maybe a bad sound. I think I might hear a tornado. So, I look out the window. I’ve seen tornadoes before. Off in the distance. ‘Little’ ones. This, I did not recognize as a tornado, because it was so huge, and so close, I had to stare at it for a second, before the moment of terror when I saw the rain of debris, and realized that this is, in fact, a very big tornado, and close enough to start sucking giant live oaks out of the ground directly behind my house.
I grabbed my (uncharged) phone, 3 quick steps and I’m in the bathroom, calling for all my cats and dogs to come on quickly, and the house started to shake and standing there in my underwear I started to shake, and the house was bombarded with a million chunks of other houses from the southwest. I heard glass breaking all around, snapping and cracking of trees and houses being crushed, and the wind. Lordy, the wind, it was so loud. I thought the house might vibrate all the way apart. I can remember the dogs looking at me, and me looking at my phone, and looking up and wondering if the closet was out of range from trees or would the roof hold up or were we all gonna die. I peeked out once, and could see out my back window, and the house behind mine was being destroyed and oh I wished so hard I had a safer place. Then, as quickly as it started, it died down.
I immediately updated my facebook status.
Then I put on some pants.