The first sign of bad weather for me is always a dull ache deep down in my bones. My hips creak in complaint when I walk. My lower back joins in with its own throbbing beat. The resounding echo within my body repeats to me, “A storm is coming. A storm is coming.”
Before a rain storm cool winds will often whip through the landscape bringing blessed relief from the hot summer sun. This time, however, the air was thick like a viscous soup. The breeze felt unnatural and wrong somehow. Isaias began with air so full it was pregnant with the promise of destruction.
Destruction is what we got. Tropical storm Isaias swept through our state leaving downed power lines and fallen trees in its wake. We lost power for five days. Luckily, a generator allowed us to run essential power and we could go to my parents’ for a hot meal. This wasn’t nearly as destructive as the first storm of the season.
That’s because right before Isaias we hit Storm Marcus
I’d say we made it through relatively unscathed. At least we were safe and together. That is, Luke, Carl, Mary and I made it through together. Marcus isn’t here anymore.
It began with a few comments here or there. A few lightning flashes of anger over the COVID-19 restrictions. I could see my oldest son growing ever-increasingly restless. Marcus pushed back against our safety precautions a few times. He wanted to attend a July 4th party in another state in the city where he used to live. He wanted to see his friends. He didn’t want to have to wear a mask. Clearly, hurricane season was upon us.
Luke tried in vain to reason with Marcus. As a transplant recipient Luke is extremely vulnerable to diseases and sickness of any kind. He’ll always be high-risk because he’ll likely have to take immunity-suppressant medications forever. Marcus understands this logically but…logic never dictates his behavior.
When it’s time for Marcus to go, it’s time for him to go. He becomes restless and needs to move on. His cycle is ever and always push-then-pull, in-then-out. It did not surprise me when he began to pick petty fights or test the boundaries of our rules. His final blowout fight with Luke was over leaving to hang out in the city all day and coming back with a new car.
Of course he took off. Of course he left in his new car to go and party with his friends. Marcus may understand logically the risks of going into a place with a higher infection rate. That won’t stop him from drinking and smoking with his friends at every party he can go to. It’s like trying to rationally explain to a toddler that too much candy will make them sick.
I understand that he needed to fight with us in order to feel justified in leaving. It’s this way every time. Marcus won’t tell us where he is staying or who he is with. As far as I can tell he is still attending classes for the hybrid model at his school. We are still paying the tuition. If all goes well he will graduate in December as a licensed electrician. I hope he sticks it out until then without sabotaging himself.
Meanwhile, we pick up the debris in our yard after the storm. Once the power was back I was able to vacuum and run the dishwasher again. 5 days was an awfully long time to rely on the generator alone. It feels comforting to sit in a clean house with lights and running water again.
For now, I am content with this. My mother has been in contact with Marcus, thankfully. They text back and forth and he knows his Nana loves him. I’m letting the matter rest. I haven’t put much effort into finding him or reaching out. He knows where we are. He’ll come when he’s ready.
Until then, even Isaias seems less dangerous than the constant risk of infection for Luke. I am not worried now that Marcus will bring the virus home to him. We are in our own bubble of safety here. It’s quiet. It’s calm. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.