Sandy lived a normal life, just like every other 16 year old Canadian teen, that is until it happened. It's not like it was a huge surprise, they knew it would happen, they just didn't anticipate that it would happen so soon. Even so, the world wasn't prepared for the biggest recorded volcano to erupt right under their feet.
Sandy was sent, against her will might I add, to stay with her grandmother while her parents are called away to Texas for a family emergency. Little did they know, or anyon
My day started off great. I got an A on my math test and the school lunch was pizza, not that low quality soggy pizza, but actual pizza. It was great, that is until I got home. My mom’s sister, Sarah, was pregnant with her first child and she wanted my parents to be there to support her. The only thing is that they live in Galveston Texas and we live in Montreal Canada. That’s a long way away, like an entire country away. Let me just tell you how our lovely conversation over the matter went.
“It will only be for a week or two,” My mother said reassuringly.
“Where will I stay? I can’t live here on my own, I can barely cut an apple without catching the house on fire.” I replied exasperatedly. Okay I may have been exaggerating a bit, but why would she even think about leaving me home alone? She knows that I would never be able to survive!
“How can you burn the house down with a knife?” She asked, questioning my logic like any sane person.
“Exactly! That’s why I should go with you and see the birth of my beautiful baby cousin.” At this point I thought ‘she has to let me go with them. I mean who would I stay with?’, but then it hit me. ‘Unless… no, she wouldn’t’.
“You can’t miss that much school, and I already called grandma to see if you could stay with her and she's fine with it.” I looked at my mother in horror, she did. Let me just tell you, the last time I went to visit grandma she offered me a smoke, which might I add was not of the legal kind, and I was eight!
“Your kidding right. Is this some kind of April fools prank? Please tell me it is.” I pleaded desperately.
“It’ll be fun. Give her a chance.” My mother said, putting in the last word. And that was that. I would be staying with my crazy grandma while my parents fly halfway across the country. Great, just peachy.
Today I went to grandma’s. She wasn’t as crazy as I remember. Apparently she had gone to rehab for her drug problem and had taken up knitting instead, now her house is full of unfinished sweaters and blankets. Anyway, this is going to be a long week, wish me luck.
School today wasn't the best, we had crappy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, not to mention I had a headache all day. On top of that dad was suppose to call me when they got to Texas, I don't know why but I have a bad feeling. I shouldn't really be worried, they probably haven't even landed yet, maybe I’m just still upset they didn't bring me. They’ll probably call soon anyway.
I got word from Dad late last night. Apparently they had some technical difficulties with the airplane and had to make a landing in Kentucky, however they don’t know when they will be able to get on another flight to Texas. Tonight while grandma was making the two of us spaghetti an urgent news cast disturbed my favorite TV show. The anchorman began talking in a panicky voice.
He said a volcano was beginning to erupt in Yellowstone National park.
I called grandma in and we watched as the anchorman, and some scientists, relayed information to us about the volcano. Apparently there is an active volcano in Yellowstone National Park that has been due to erupt for about 20, 000 years, at least that’s what scientists hypothesized. The magma activity in the volcano was causing a disturbance in the tectonic plates, which lead to earthquakes destroying the surrounding areas for miles. The scientist said that this was the first step, in a few weeks the volcano would erupt, spreading ash for miles.
The anchorman continued to give scientific details about the volcano and how to be safe while images of frantic people trying to leave the surrounding areas flashed across the screen. Images of destruction from earthquakes, packed interstates in the west and the volcano itself were on a constant replay in my head. Grandma told me, well more like ordered me, to go to bed while she stayed caught up on the news. So here I lay in bed, writing in this journal, and terrified of what is to come.
I tried to reach Mom and Dad today, but all of the phone line were busy. Grandma told me not to worry and that they would call when they could, but I could tell that she was worried too. We spent the rest of the day watching the news broadcast the damage that the volcano had caused and what it still had in store for the rest of us.
Still no word from Mom or Dad.
I was at school when it happened. The walls and glass began to rumble slightly as everyone got under their desks, following the procedures for an earthquake drill. Some kids began screaming, some crying, and others tried to act calm, but you could see the panic evident on their faces. After we got the all clear the teacher ushered us into the multipurpose room where a TV was broadcasting the news. The volcano in Yellowstone has erupted faster than the scientists had expected. What they thought would take weeks had taken only a few days.
The eruption itself had caused mass casualties in Wyoming, the state that the volcano is located in, as well as surrounding states. Adding to the number of casualties that the earthquakes had caused. Ash had already started to drown the surrounding areas.
Everyone around me was either silent, crying, or frantically calling parents to come pick them up. I quickly called grandma to do the same, but she said that she was already on the way. Within 3 minutes she had reached the school and we were speeding home.
Almost nobody was at school today. I guess the volcano had caused such a ruckus that a lot of families decided to stay home. Also, we still haven’t gotten word from Mom or Dad yet. I suggested that we travel down to Texas to make sure that they are okay. I mean, it’s not like we wouldn’t have anywhere to stay, my mom's whole side of the family lives down there, but Grandma said it would be best to stay where we are. I decided to write them a letter instead, maybe it will reach them. Anyway, the news said that ash from the volcano has already spread as far as Michigan and that we should be seeing it in a few hours as well. I just hope this whole thing settles down soon.
This morning the sky had a dark hue to it and only continued to get darker. I also noticed that today was colder than usual, like a few degrees cooler. The scientists on the news said that it was because of some sulphuric aerosol that was created because of sulfur gas being released from the volcano and injected into the atmosphere. That and because the ash was blocking the sun. I don’t know, it’s some kind of sciency thing.
There were also reports of buildings collapsing in the west because of ash piling up on rooftops. Did you know that it only takes 30 centimeters of ash to collapse a roof? I guess you learn something new everyday. Anyway, the death toll caused by the volcano continues to increase everyday as the ash spreads and thickens, choking the life out of the earth itself. Wow, that sounded deep.
It’s like everyday is more boring and worrisome than the last. For one, I still haven’t heard from Mom and Dad yet and I’m really starting to panick. Two, we never do any work in school anymore, we just talk about the volcano, which dampens the mood on everything. Three, the ash keeps getting thicker everyday, blocking out more sunlight, and has begun to engulf parts of Europe as well. Grandma even heard from a friend that people have begun to stock up on supplies, so today we went to several stores to buy food, water, extra clothes for warmth, and whatever we thought we would need.
Yesterday me and grandma worked on sorting all of the food and clothes we could gather. So far, the food should last us awhile, which will hopefully be long enough and the amount of warm clothes we have should keeps us warm during the winter. Speaking of warm, it continues to get colder and darker everyday. I can already see some of grandma’s flowers beginning to wilt from lack of sunlight.
At this point I’m very worried about Mom and Dad. I try to call everyday and it’s been about two weeks since I sent the letter, I asked grandma about traveling down to Texas to check on them, but she keeps saying that it’s too dangerous. I suppose she’s right, but it wouldn’t hurt to go check on them would it? Maybe I can come up with a plan.
I thought of a plan during school today, it might not be the best or safest plan, but it’s a plan. My plan is simple, I will pack a few clothes and some food and hitch a ride down to Texas, at least I hope that it will be that simple. I still need to work out minor detail like how I will get away from Grandma, or how much food and clothes I need to take with me. It’s a work in progress.
I have decided that tonight's the night. Tonight I will leave Grandma a note, sneak out of the house and make my way to Texas. I have spent the last few days devising a plan and collecting supplies, but I finally think I’m ready.
Last night went smoothly. I left a nice note for Grandma telling her that I would be okay and that she shouldn’t come looking for me, then I snuck out the window with my bag of supplies and got a bus ticket going as far south as possible, which ended up being Virginia. I hope the ride will be as smooth as my get away.
Virginia wasn’t that different from Montreal, there was ash everywhere, plants wilting, and crowded streets full of people who had tried to move as far away from the volcano as possible. I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible so I got on the next bus which just so happened to be headed for Tennessee, a place I have always wanted to visit. I still have a few more stops and bus switches to do before I reach Tennessee, I guess I’ll be getting some good shut eye.
I got off the bus in Tennessee today, it was still the same as Virginia and every other place in the east, dark, and crowded. There wasn’t going to be another bus for a while so I decided to go to a small cafe where I met a nice kid named Fernando. Apparently Fernando is headed for Houston Texas, which is only a few miles from where I’m headed. I also learned that he is 16, just like me, and was attending a school trip to Washington D.C. when the volcano erupted. Him and the rest of his class was then relocated to Virginia until the chaos was so, well chaotic anymore. Now he is just trying to make sure that his family is safe, just like me. He had plenty of money and supplies with him, as did I , so we decided to share our rations and travel together to Texas. We will be on the next bus headed to Arkansas in a few hours.
So far the trip to Arkansas hasn’t been too bad. Fernando has told me some pretty lame jokes and we have been catching up on sleep, but otherwise there is nothing to do. I’ll get back to you when life gets more exciting. Never thought that I’d be saying that after a volcano killed of a majority of the United States.
We arrived in Arkansas today and me and Fernando decided that it would be good if we caught up on the news. We learned that the ash had spread as far as Greenland, South America, and Europe. Small earthquakes were still occurring in the west and many people had died due to these earthquakes as well as inhalation of ash. The death toll was astonishingly high. Fernando must have realized how panicked and frightened I had gotten because he pulled me away and suggested that we grab something to eat before we got back on the bus. Once I was pulled back to reality I started to realize how cold it had gotten for April, especially this far south. I also noticed that the ash in the air as well on the ground had been getting thicker and thicker as we moved farther southwest. Anyway, we should be in Huston within a matter of days and I’ll be able to see Mom and dad sometime soon.
The last few days have been pretty slow, but we finally made it to Texas! We are currently in Nacogdoches and this is as far as the buses will carry, so we will have to find another way of making it the rest of the way to Houston and Galveston.
A small family was nice enough to give us a lift to Houston today, they were very nice people. They even offered to buy us lunch, can you believe it? I almost thought that it was too good to be true. We are spending the night in a small town outside of Houston tonight, even though I can see how anxious Fernando is to see his family. To make him feel better we both agreed that we will be getting up early in the morning to make the rest of the trip to downtown Houston, where me and Fernando will part ways. It’s sad, I’ve kind of grown fond of Fernando these last few weeks. Maybe we will see each other again someday after this whole volcano thing blows over. No pun intended.
We couldn’t find Fernando’s parents. When we got to his apartment it was empty, so we decided to ask some neighbors. According to them, Fernando’s parents had just disappeared a few weeks ago, after the volcano erupted. They didn’t have any extended family or friends so no one knew where they went. I felt bad, Fernando came all of this way only to have more questions. He never got to find out if his parents were okay or not. I invited him to come with me to my family and thankfully he obliged. So here we are, sleeping in the back of a pick up, headed to Galveston.
It took us a few hours to walk to my aunt's house once we were dropped off, but once we got there I was showered in hugs and kisses from family members. Apparently Mom and Dad had received my letter, only it was a week after I sent it, and replied with a letter of their own. They recently received another from Grandma stating that I had run away, this had caused them to panic, but they were thankful that I was okay. I quickly wrote Grandma back and asked my uncle to drop it off at the post office as soon as he could, which he did later.
After the whole family reunion thing I introduced Fernando to my family, who welcomed him with open arms, and finally I got to what i had been waiting to do forever. I finally, got to meet my new baby cousin, Charlotte. She was so cute and small! I think life is finally looking up, maybe this volcano thing wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be, at least not for me.
I think I spoke too soon. The last week has been great. Me and Fernando are the best of friends, my family is closer than it has ever been and I was actually happy, but then it had to be ruined. We were watching the news this morning when the anchor man had some breaking news. Apparently the consistent small earthquakes in the south weren’t just small aftermath earthquakes, no, they were the beginning of something much bigger.
Remember all of those time I said that the scientists were wrong, well they were wrong again. The first eruption was just the beginning, the volcano will soon erupt again, but this time it will wipe out most of the United States. Even then there will be no escaping it. The active magma will cause tectonic plates to shift and move and ash will cloak the sky and block out any source of sunlight. We will all be dead, but they don’t know when. The scientists estimated that we maybe have a few days or even hours to live.
After watching the news we decided to make the most of what we had left, as a family. We went to the small local Putt-Putt course and played golf, grabbed something to eat and spent the day at the beach, even though it was cold out. My life may be over soon, but at least I’m happy.
We’re still alive. Today we had another family day. We cooked, baked, played puzzles, played board games, and basically did everything that a typical family would do except imagine that on steroids. Yes, it was intense. Our game of Monopoly got intense when Fernando was caught stealing money from the bank. Overall, I had another great day. Right now we are watching a movie, but everyone fell asleep, so I decided to journal. I might as well make the most of the free time I have.
I never told you why I went through so much trouble to find my family, well the answer is simple. Stitch. Well not Stitch himself, but a line from Stitch. It goes, ‘Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind’. Ever since I was little that line has always touched me. It reminds me that I have a family who loves me, and who will do anything for me. As long as I have my family, I am whole. But I also learned something else during this whole chaotic experience, family doesn’t always consists of relatives. A family is made of people like Fernando, people who you chose to be close enough to to love and cherish. Family is who you make it, whether they are blood or not.
This volcano may kill me and my family, but if there is one thing that it has taught me, it is that when life goes boom, you can always count on family to be there. I don’t care when or how I die, I care that I know who my family is and that they know that I love them. This volcano has forever changed my life simply because I have learned to lov…