Fleeing Katrina Journals News The Tattoo

Guilt and doubt

Friday, 8:47 p.m. , Ponchatoula, Louisiana — My family is together again in another location: Ponchatoula, Louisiana , hours away from where we were before in Natchitoches, and I’m feeling guilty now for not being able to make boarding school work for me. This is the first time I have ever run away from something in my life, but I admitted defeat.

In the aftermath of letting the white flag wave, I feel so much guilt. Already, my parents are both saying how much they loved Natchitoches and how they miss the people we were staying with. I feel terrible.

We’re living on the lot that used to belong to our friend’s grandmother. There’s a house here, but it’s unlivable. Windows are broken and tiles are off of the walls. There is mold and rooms that are unfinished. The three of us are living in the camper, and it’s tight and mom becomes frustrated easily. I don’t have internet, and I miss talking to my best friend, but when night comes around and I can sleep.

I think that it might be better here.

School is better here at least, and I’m happier in this place than I ever was at LSMSA. Here, I have some friends from my old school, and even though I was never really close with any of them, it’s comforting looking around and seeing something familiar. Besides faces, nothing is familiar these days: not the uniform I have to wear, not the scent of the hallways, not even my own bed. It’s all foreign, but that’s okay because I can get through this. The eye of the hurricane passed over my home, but I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere.

I only have four classes a semester, but they’re an hour and a half each. I’m in Calculus now, with two of my friends from Hannan. I’m in Physics too, but I understand what we’re doing now. I’m learning the basics I hadn’t been taught at LSMSA. I’m taking Journalism now, and I’m still in American History. My classes aren’t hard yet, but I’ve only been here a few days. I hope this works out and that my parents can be okay here. I feel so guilty because I know that I’m the reason we’re here. I just hope this move is worth it in the end.

Samantha Perez is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

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