Jolly Holiday

Shelbie was a fashion designer. Very low key, living in upper Manhattan with her junkie brother. Then she got her big break. And that big break, went by One Direction.

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31. Survivors

"Are you sure you don't want me to get you some Aspirin?" Louis asked, after the fourth time I'd gotten up to dump the contents of my stomach. I hated this. I should be out working but instead I'm in here, puking my guts out.

"No, I don't want any medicine. I'll just puke it back up." he nodded sympathetically, handing me my water bottle once more.

"Come here," he took my wrist and pulled me down onto his lap, "It's going to be okay." he assured me.

"Why is this happening to me?" I cried. I knew he probably wasn't the person to cry to, considering he didn't have use of his legs anymore, but I couldn't help it. My whole world was crashing down around me and it seemed as if there was nothing I could do to stop it.

"Sometimes bad things happen to good people." he murmured, running a hand through my greasy hair as I cried into his chest, "It'll all be okay, though."

"Lou, it isn't going to be okay!" I sobbed, "Every happy memory I have, every person I love; they're being torn apart!"

"That's not true, Babe." he said, lifting me up by the chin to look me in the eye, "You still have your memories. And we're all alive and well. We're lucky, Shelbs. We should all be dead right now. And we're not. By some weird twist of fate, we're all okay. It hurts right now, I know it does. But in a month we're going to look back on this and it's all going to be a memory."

"I don't understand you, Lou. You were a victim and yet you're so calm. Nothing happened to me and I'm falling apart." I laughed humorlessly, letting go of a sniffle.

"Babe, we're not victims. We're survivors."

That one statement finally forced me to stop my bellyaching. I wasn't a victim. I was a survivor. If somebody who couldn't even walk anymore could say something like that, than I sure as hell could too, "I'm a survivor." I whispered.

"Mhmm." he mumbled, brushing my hair out of my face and kissing my forehead, "Now, why don't you and I go on outside and see if there's anything we can do for anybody?"

I nodded and off we went. Once we were closer to town, the significant damage began showing itself. The first stop we made was to the firehouse. I loaded five tarps onto Louis' lap and from there we trekked further into town, handing out tarps to people who needed to patch their roofs.

I kept a chant going in my head the entire time. I'm a survivor. I survive. I'm not a victim. I'm alive.

Strangely enough, being in town again actually helped to somewhat lift my spirits. I couldn't believe how fast people were responding. Overnight, people had flocked in to serve food in empty parking lots. The Baptist church in town ha actually opened up as a shelter for people who didn't have places to stay. It was rather heartwarming to see how much people cared.

"Shelbie!" I heard a cry from down the street. Oh dear God. When I looked up my mother was running full speed directly at me, "I'm so glad you're okay!" she sobbed, holding onto me for dear life, "The house is a mess," she whined, "All the windows are gone and they say the roof is going to be ten thousand dollars to replace."

Was she completely oblivious to everything? She was standing in the middle of modern-day Ground Zero! She was speaking to two people who escaped certain death by seconds! And she wanted to talk about the damage her roof sustained?

"Mother, I don't have time for this right now," I grumbled, "We have to get rid of the rest of these tarps."

You say I hold a grudge? I'd say you're darn right. As far as I was concerned my family was a thing of the past. I had a new family now.
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