Trina knew she was lucky to be alive, but she was still worried about what she’d find when she was finally able to go back home. Mold, for sure.
Luckily, Trina had enough time to evacuate before the river overflowed its banks. Record-breaking rains had caused massive flooding and major damage. Once again Trina thanked God for her life and that of her family and friends.
Her home and everything in it were just things, but Trina liked her things, especially the irreplaceable ones, like her photos, artwork, and family heirlooms. At least she still had her grandmother’s ring, which she always wore. Trina’s grandmother had raised her – and encouraged her artistic talents.
Trina hoped the flood waters hadn’t reached as high as her second floor studio. It was her special place. She loved looking out the big bay window and watching life on and around the river below.
In the summer the river was full of boats and water-skiers. In the fall colorful leaves blew all around and drifted downstream. The edges of the river iced up in winter. -- It was beautiful and other worldly. But Trina’s favorite time of year was spring when the birds returned from their trip south. But what would her view look like now?
Trina was happy to get the ok to return home. She felt bad about imposing on her sister and her family for so long. They didn’t have much, but something was better than nothing. Trina only had her old pink pickup truck and the few things she’d had time to grab on her way out.
As Trina drove into her old neighborhood, two rivers of tears coursed down her cheeks. There were no kids playing. Mangy cats and dogs wandered about, wondering where their owners were. A few houses were boarded up, already condemned.
If her house was structurally sound, it would have to be gutted down to the studs. Could she afford to re-build? She knew she’d never get another insurance policy, at least not one she could afford. Would she have to go back to her sister’s? Trina didn’t want to do that. She loved living on the river.
But that roaring river destroyed her neighborhood. Trina almost got lost navigating her way home. Everything looked so different. Her landmark trees and buildings were broken or completely gone. Trina didn’t even recognize her own street. And then she saw it, her home, or what was left of it. It was still standing at least.
Trina had brought a mask to wear inside, but the stench was still awful. Absolutely everything was covered in black mold. The floors and all of her furniture were covered in mud. She could see the watermark upstairs, in her beloved studio, almost to the ceiling. There would be nothing worth saving.
Trina stood there, looking at what had once been her home, and wept. She didn’t know how long she stood there crying. (There was no place to sit.)
And then she saw it, her grandmother’s chest in the corner of her studio. By some miracle the old chest actually looked ok, but Trina didn’t dare open it in that mold infested place. She lugged it down the stairs, all the while wondering why she bothered. She couldn’t explain it. -- She just had to do it. It didn’t make any sense. Everything was ruined. Could she really save the chest and its contents?
Trina dragged the chest out into what was left of her small yard. And then she heaved it onto the back of her truck. She sat beside it in the pickup bed, exhausted and trembling. She took a swig of water from the cooler she’d brought.
When Trina pulled up the lid on the chest, her mouth dropped open and she gasped. Her paintings were all there and in pristine condition! Somehow, they had survived.
In a way, Trina wasn’t surprised. -- She painted angels and religious scenes on glass for churches. Trina didn’t know where or when or how, but right then and there she knew she would make it. She still had an awful lot of work to do. She’d lost everything, except what was in the chest. And yet she smiled. -- Trina knew that God and His angels would always be there for her – just like they had been there for her before, during, and after the flood.
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