The Survival

We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.

– Barbara De Angelis

I had written this short fictional story for a class assignment. The story is very basic to be honest. But I want to use this story as a simple concept of a type of event that can change the way we look at life. How much we are able to appreciate it. How much we can empathize with those around us. The things we can achieve when we tackle all problems together as a community with an assertive and positive mind. How we instinctively react when someone around needs help, no matter how small or big. How are we contributing to a situation? Are we willing to go out of our way to help the people around us who need it? Well, let’s find out.

It was Thursday night. I was working late alone in the office, preparing for a presentation that was due the next day. Outside a slight breeze was blowing, inviting a perfect cool atmosphere to work in. I continued my work steadily as the hours moved on. Suddenly an earsplitting scream penetrated the air from somewhere below and I froze. Instantly I was by the window and a devastating sight met my eyes.

The clear evening sky had been replaced by an aggressive one, full of dark, haphazard shapes of the clouds. Nearby a tree had broken and lay sprawled all across the road. Meanwhile a raging storm had set in, blowing winds of excessive pressure past people’s faces, while bits of glass and sand continuously flew towards their face and eyes. The fierce wind knocked the breath out of me while the angry growl of lightning deafened my ears. Predictably enough, the lights in the office went out. Suddenly I was standing in mere darkness. I began to get scared. Frantically I searched for my cell phone to turn on the flashlight. After several moments of stumbling into desks and groping around in the dark, I found it. Then cautiously I moved towards the stairs and started going down.

I wasn’t surprised to find the watchman’s seat empty when I reached the bottom floor. Looking around, I saw that people were urgently looking for shelter. Some were standing under cover from the rain but the frantic wind was making things worse. Over a corner, a mother was trying to prevent her non-stop crying child from getting wet. I realized I needed to do something. I went up to the man standing closest to me who was taking cover and shouted at him saying they could all come up to my office for shelter, although there was no electricity. With his help I was able to pass on the message to the others. However a new problem had found it’s way to us. From just below the entrance stairs to the first floor, water had started filling in every inch and was rising to our knees.

For a few minutes I was blank as to what to do. Then the man I acquainted with, suggested an idea; that we could use a rope to get through. It was not difficult to find one; there were quite a few of them kept in one corner of the ground floor where the mechanics had been working on the garage. I passed a rope to him and he, being a tall man managed to get past the water range and tie the top securely to the stairs railing. Then slowly and carefully we started to shift people inside and then up the stairs. However, very few people had their cell phones in working condition to generate enough light. So we went in two batches. I went up with one batch and came down for the others. Some had difficulty climbing as they could not hold the wet rope firmly enough and grasped harder. I held their backs to the best of my ability to ensure they didn’t fall down. Time seemed to zoom past us. But in the end, with enough efforts and precautions, we managed it.

Once upstairs, there was chaos. With little light available, everyone bumped into everyone, children wailed continuously, and all the while I was searching for the first aid kit. Finally I found it stacked up on a cabinet shelf and hurried to nurse the ones who had gotten injured in the scuffles with the fallen trees and materials on the road. Even though it was cold with no heating in the room, I could tell everyone was glad to be indoors in such a terrible weather.

The experience had been frightening for me. But later on when I thought about it, I could not be more grateful for having the courage to go out and help the people who had been stranded outside. Even if it meant getting scolded by my boss, it was worth it. I will never forget this storm and how we survived from it. Just like we have survived all the storms in our life.


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