I Couldn’t Stop Staring


Last year, I saw an older woman with a walker enter the rehab pool. She had a t-shirt with big letters bedazzled in silver dots that said, “FIERCE.” That pretty much described the weather out here in the past couple of weeks.

The music in our pilates class was interrupted by a tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service. We were dumbfounded. That doesn’t happen in Southern California. If anything, we get waterspouts offshore. We used levity to hide our concern and joked about taking shelter under the reformer.

When I got out to my car, there were two messages from 734’s Dad. And by the time I got home, the phone rang again and this time it was my dad in Boston, sounding a tad agitated because he saw my neighborhood on the news. Turns out the tornado touched down two miles from my place.

I had no idea. I downplayed the whole thing and said the news trucks always hang out for the waves and the puddles in January. Ha, I had NO idea a truck and two boats had been flipped nearby. Roofs had been torn off and windows broken.

I live near the beach with an ocean view. Watching the waves come in was like watching fireworks. I couldn’t stop gawking at them. And in the middle of the night, if the wind howled a little too much, I ran into the living room – away from the windows. We had tons of people who came by our pier to assess the damage to the beach and take pictures of the ocean. Pictures that only told half the story. Because the sound that they made, the smell, and the way they shook the shore and the pier was nothing short of FIERCE.