Wednesday – Bossier City , Louisiana ( 7:15 pm) — People depend so much on one another.
Everyone has someone to help himself through this, someone to depend on for support. So many people are depending on me, but no one really asks if I am ok. Not really. They ask, but they don’t mean the question. It’s not like when I ask my friends if they are okay after all of this. I know when they are alright, when they aren’t. I’m trying too hard to be here for them, but there’s no one for me to talk to … not like I need.
I’ve only cried once because of this. Just once. My mom, my cousins, my entire family, they cry and laugh all the time. I laugh, but I don’t cry. I can’t cry because people need me, and that’s okay. It’s important that they are okay.
I talked to my friend Katie today. She managed to connect to the internet, and she asked me what was going to happen with everything. I doubt our school will open again this year, but it’s possible that it might open in January. Anything’s possible, after all. So, who knows, my old school might reopen in January. I think that’s what a lot of the schools did after Betsy hit.
I called McDonald’s today, but my parents don’t know this. They say they’re going to try to get me back into school as soon as possible, but I’m not stupid. I know my family is going to need a lot of help, and I hate asking other people for it, even though we need it so much. I called McDonald’s, wondering if they might hire me. It’s just minimum wage, but it will be something to help me family. The only thing is, I don’t know how much longer we might be in Bossier City . We might leave tomorrow or the next day. We might leave in a few weeks. We are gypsies.
Most of my class is in Baton Rouge, finishing high school there. Mom and dad can’t go there. It’s so crowded, and the family can’t all make a new life there. I don’t really care. I miss my friends, but I stopped caring about so many things now. I think it will better this way. I can help my family now, and I will. Everyone needs to make sacrifices, right? I hope this all works out. I want everyone to be safe and happy.
We haven’t had any word about my cousin Taylor. We don’t know if he and his family evacuated or not — and the family here is worried. We don’t know if they are safe. I hope so. I didn’t get along that well with Taylor last year, but after he moved next to me in religion class, we started getting along quite well. He was even made drum major in band … when my school existed … when there was a band.
I’m hearing rumors that my school was destroyed by a tornado, as well as the flooding. I don’t know. I miss school there some, but mostly, I miss my class and the people. One good thing, I’ll never have to hike it from English class to physics again. That’s always a good thing, I guess.
I don’t think I’ll be finishing high school any time soon. There’s a chance I will be able to, but I need to help my family. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to go to college, but right now, there’s no money for it. We need money for food and other things we cannot live without. I never thought I wouldn’t go to college, but right now, I don’t think we’ll have the money for me to go. Sacrifices must be made, and I’m okay with that. It’s strange, but I really am.
I found more pictures of my parish on the internet. They’re slowly starting to get released. I miss my home. There aren’t any pictures of my neighborhood, but maybe in a few days, they’ll have some. Maybe.
Looters are in the city. They are burning things and killing people. Why? They shoot at helicopters as they fly down, helicopters that are trying to rescue people that need help. I hate this. So many people need help there! Why are they acting this way? It has no point at all! They are idiots, and they are ruining so many things for so many needy people.
My good friend Leanne is leaving her hotel in Georgia and coming to Shreveport. I hope I get to see her, but things have been so busy. My family is depending on me and this computer, and between the texts and online conversations I have with my friends, I know that they need me, too. I need to be here for them. I’m so tired, though. I can’t sleep anymore, but I wish I could. I just want everyone to be okay. Everyone deserves to be okay. No one deserved Katrina, but it happened, and I’m going to do everything that I can so that my friends can be alright, even happy, maybe. Even happy? I’ll try, but no one’s God.
I tried writing again today, but I couldn’t do it. I remembered all my stories that are gone now, and I just didn’t feel like writing anymore. What’s the point? I miss my stories, though, even though they were never that good. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not going to be able to finish school or attend college. It’d probably be a better thing than letting me attend. Maybe, it’s fate.
I was supposed to have an essay due in English a week ago, last Wednesday, comparing the idea of fate between two short stories we read in the Norton’s Anthology of Short Fiction. The book cost $63. Now, if the tornado didn’t send it to Oz with the rest of the parish, it’s under a happy lake where the corpses of friends are singing fishing songs that last forever, where they drown again and again because the cycle never ends.
When we will learn that we can’t harness nature? We can destroy it sometimes, like the rain forests, but that’s not right. If we rebuild the city, it should not be located where it was, and even if New Orleans is one day rebuilt, it will not be what it once was. So many of my classmates are spread out across the country that I’ll probably never see most of them again. Friends I’ve gone to school with since kindergarten are as far away as New York, making a new life there, not here.
Here? No. I don’t want to make a new life here either. I stay in a hotel and hardly sleep. I don’t attend school, and instead, I call to get a job and support the family. It’s not a bad life, I guess. It’s something that needs to be done, and if it’ll make everyone okay, I’ll do my best.
Samantha Perez is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.