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August 31, 2005

-- Journal --

The Bossier City blues

By Samantha Perez

Wednesday Ė Bossier City , Louisiana ( 7:15 pm) -- People depend so much on one another.

Everyone has someone to help himself through this, someone to depend on for support. So many people are depending on me, but no one really asks if I am ok. Not really. They ask, but they donít mean the question. Itís not like when I ask my friends if they are okay after all of this. I know when they are alright, when they arenít. Iím trying too hard to be here for them, but thereís no one for me to talk to Ö not like I need.

Iíve only cried once because of this. Just once. My mom, my cousins, my entire family, they cry and laugh all the time. I laugh, but I donít cry. I canít cry because people need me, and thatís okay. Itís important that they are okay.

I talked to my friend Katie today. She managed to connect to the internet, and she asked me what was going to happen with everything. I doubt our school will open again this year, but itís possible that it might open in January. Anythingís possible, after all. So, who knows, my old school might reopen in January. I think thatís what a lot of the schools did after Betsy hit.

I called McDonaldís today, but my parents donít know this. They say theyíre going to try to get me back into school as soon as possible, but Iím not stupid. I know my family is going to need a lot of help, and I hate asking other people for it, even though we need it so much. I called McDonaldís, wondering if they might hire me. Itís just minimum wage, but it will be something to help me family. The only thing is, I donít know how much longer we might be in Bossier City . We might leave tomorrow or the next day. We might leave in a few weeks. We are gypsies.

Most of my class is in Baton Rouge , finishing high school there. Mom and dad canít go there. Itís so crowded, and the family canít all make a new life there. I donít really care. I miss my friends, but I stopped caring about so many things now. I think it will better this way. I can help my family now, and I will. Everyone needs to make sacrifices, right? I hope this all works out. I want everyone to be safe and happy.

We havenít had any word about my cousin Taylor. We donít know if he and his family evacuated or not -- and the family here is worried. We donít know if they are safe. I hope so. I didnít get along that well with Taylor last year, but after he moved next to me in religion class, we started getting along quite well. He was even made drum major in band Ö when my school existed Ö when there was a band.

Iím hearing rumors that my school was destroyed by a tornado, as well as the flooding. I donít know. I miss school there some, but mostly, I miss my class and the people. One good thing, Iíll never have to hike it from English class to physics again. Thatís always a good thing, I guess.

I donít think Iíll be finishing high school any time soon. Thereís a chance I will be able to, but I need to help my family. Maybe one day, Iíll be able to go to college, but right now, thereís no money for it. We need money for food and other things we cannot live without. I never thought I wouldnít go to college, but right now, I donít think weíll have the money for me to go. Sacrifices must be made, and Iím okay with that. Itís strange, but I really am.

I found more pictures of my parish on the internet. Theyíre slowly starting to get released. I miss my home. There arenít any pictures of Violet, where I live, right now, but maybe in a few days, theyíll have some. Maybe.

Looters are in the city. They are burning things and killing people. Why? They shoot at helicopters as they fly down, helicopters that are trying to rescue people that need help. I hate this. So many people need help there! Why are they acting this way? It has no point at all! They are idiots, and they are ruining so many things for so many needy people.

My good friend Leanne is leaving her hotel in Georgia and coming to Shreveport. I hope I get to see her, but things have been so busy. My family is depending on me and this computer, and between the texts and online conversations I have with my friends, I know that they need me, too. I need to be here for them. Iím so tired, though. I canít sleep anymore, but I wish I could. I just want everyone to be okay. Everyone deserves to be okay. No one deserved Katrina, but it happened, and Iím going to do everything that I can so that my friends can be alright, even happy, maybe. Even happy? Iíll try, but no oneís God.

I tried writing again today, but I couldnít do it. I remembered all my stories that are gone now, and I just didnít feel like writing anymore. Whatís the point? I miss my stories, though, even though they were never that good. Maybe itís a good thing Iím not going to be able to finish school or attend college. Itíd probably be a better thing than letting me attend. Maybe, itís fate.

I was supposed to have an essay due in English a week ago, last Wednesday, comparing the idea of fate between two short stories we read in the Nortonís Anthology of Short Fiction. The book cost $63. Now, if the tornado didnít send it to Oz with the rest of the parish, itís under a happy lake where the corpses of friends are singing fishing songs that last forever, where they drown again and again because the cycle never ends.

When we will learn that we canít harness nature? We can destroy it sometimes, like the rain forests, but thatís not right. If we rebuild the city, it should not be located where it was, and even if New Orleans is one day rebuilt, it will not be what it once was. So many of my classmates are spread out across the country that Iíll probably never see most of them again. Friends Iíve gone to school with since kindergarten are as far away as New York, making a new life there, not here.

Here? No. I donít want to make a new life here either. I stay in a hotel and hardly sleep. I donít attend school, and instead, I call to get a job and support the family. Itís not a bad life, I guess. Itís something that needs to be done, and if itíll make everyone okay, Iíll do my best.

Read Samantha Perez's

Hurricane Journal

Comment on Sammy's journal

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