A Very Stormy Easter

It had been four years since I last spent Easter at home with my family. I moved from Alabama to New York for grad school, and unlike my other alma mater, Loyola University New Orleans, they did not give the whole week off for Easter. New York shut down in March 2020 while I was visiting family. My two-week visit transformed into a months-long stay, but that also meant I could be with them. Easter was a little bit different because, in addition to the pandemic, there was also tornado outbreak in the Southeast. Which included Alabama.

My younger brother and I sat in the living room, eating burgers and watching one of our favorite shows Bar Rescue. When he didn’t have homework or basketball practice, we would watch the premiering episode together. We were able to sit in the same room and laugh at the ridiculousness and crazy personalities of the bar owners. The minute the clock stuck 10:00 p.m., we were engulfed in darkness. Rain pounded on the house. I turned on the flashlight on my phone, and my brother followed. Our mom was in her bedroom, calling for us. We gathered her and went to retrieve my dad from his home office downstairs.

The power was out. Obviously. It was further confirmed when we looked outside and saw that our neighbors’ lights and the streetlights were pitch black. The power wouldn’t be back on until tomorrow, according to a call my dad had with the local electric services company. We traveled into the kitchen, where my mom stashed portable weather lamps for emergencies. The lamps dimmed and flickered. We didn’t have the necessary batteries to replace the old ones, and wanted to preserve our phones, so we searched for other flashlights. We came across two more, one in my parents’ bedroom and another in my brother’s room, and returned to the kitchen. My mom swore up and down that she placed one in my room, but it was never found. Instead, I found a light-up Mardi Gras wand and used it to briefly turn the kitchen into a rave.

We lounged in the kitchen. My brother snatched green apples from the fridge to snack on as we talked. The rain hadn’t receded, and to break the “monotony,” lightning streaked across the darkened sky. We kept talking

as if it was an uncloudy day. My family has never needed a special reason or occasion to be around each other, but the storm was a reminder that the time we spent with each other was crucial. Coronavirus had separated loved ones and claimed the lives of many across the globe. I am not who I am without my family. My troubles ebb away when I’m in their presence. No virus or storm would hinder us. We may not have had electricity for the rest of the night, but in the semi-darkness of our kitchen, we had love.

It is a memory I will cherish forever.