Well, could it?
That's what I keep asking myself from the Dead Roaches on the Floor Motel in Bumblefuck, Mississippi, where I am currently holed up after a torturous search for open hotel rooms.
We left before they called for the mandatory evacuation. After about seven hours in the car, with the battery light coming on and my constantly having to pull over, shut off, and restart the car, we finally found a fleabag hotel that would take our fleabags . . . two rooms for two refugees and two feline furballs, please.
Gustav is now expected to become a Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf by tomorrow morning. The models shift west. The models shift east. The models are playing tug-o-war with my sanity. Regardless of which shift comes next, Gus will have a huge impact on the Gulf, and I fear for my city. He's a monster, and we are officially under a hurricane watch.
There's a tiny part of me that says that Gustav will not destroy New Orleans . . . that small voice in my brain that believes that the Fickle Finger of Fate could not possibly be so cruel as to take my father and my city from me within a span of just a few months.
I, for one, am not ready to close this chapter. I have not been to nearly enough parades, or Jazz Fests, or secondlines. I have not sat on my porch nearly enough times waving at the tourists passing on the streetcar. I haven't written nearly enough poems about the musicians who inspire me, like Paul and Shamarr and John. I haven't gotten nearly drunk enough on shots of Jaegermeister at the Erin Rose on Sundays.
My hotel hell room has no wireless connection, but my friend's room does, so I will not leave her alone. I'm not ready to face the hours of unknowing desperation alone. My room has a refrigerator, but it doesn't work, so I'm forced to drink my beer quickly. Hell, we're lucky we've got running water in this dump. The soda machine has cobwebs that probably date back to the 1980s. Then again, we're lucky to have found a dump with two vacant rooms.
Waiting is torture. I want to write my own story and not wait for the ending to be written for me.
This is my story, and this cannot possibly be how it ends, can it?