Murky brown water laps against the carefully stacked sandbags in front of your house, a classic ranch in subtle pastel blue built four feet above the record flood mark. You’d never thought you’d see water this close to your home of seven years. Maybe after this you’ll stop tempering your expectations of what’s possible so much.
The water is far above what’s possible to ford in your minivan; your family at the mercy of the compassion of others which, luckily, there seems to be a boundless supply of on this terrible day.
The pop and purr of the outboard motor fizzles to a murmur as it’s put into idle, and a man you’ve never seen before in a bright yellow rain coat tips his purple LSU baseball cap towards you.
“Looks like you folks could use a lift,” he says with a smile, which fades immediately to a look of great concern and sadness as he looks at the house behind you. Behind the determined façade of his guardedly optimistic eyes you see a tired and broken soul, and you know without asking that what’s about to happen to your home has already happened to him. “Well, let’s not waste any time, folks,” he begs. “All this water can’t be good for the boat,” he finishes with a wink.
Silently, you load your daughters up into the boat, stuffed animals clutched tightly, followed by your wife with a satchel of family photographs thrown over her shoulder.
“Ready?” the stranger asks.
He throttles the motor and carefully turns the boat away, trying his best not to make wake and push water into nearby houses. It’s a sincere but wasted effort- as you turn back you can already see the water overtaking the sandbags and inching toward everything you own.
You sigh and hold back tears for the castle you kept. You look at your daughters, though, and through the frown a smile for the life you’ve built: after all, you’ve brought that with you.