A CofC Student Flees From Hurricane Florence

A news alert flashes onto your phone.


The Governor has announced a mandatory evacuation of the Charleston County. Your school begrudgingly sends out an email to say that all classes and events will be canceled until further notice and that all students are to head for safety ASAP.


Freshman scamper around campus, frantically tapping away at their phones. Upperclassmen shrug. Professors go ahead and cancel homework assignments. The “Hurrication” begins.


You head to your apartment and begin piling your clothes and books into higher cabinets, setting things on top of your bed, and stack a few sandbags at the front door. While waiting for your dad to pick you up, your roommate waves goodbye as she heads out for margaritas.

Your parents, who are waiting to close on a new house in Summerville, are holed up in a travel trailer. Along with your brother, niece, three dogs, and two birds. You must go with them. You all head out to Savannah, GA. ASAP.


Something on the trailer hitch breaks or you think so anyway, and you hold your breath as the travel trailer swings around the Interstate wildly. Cars swerve to avoid you, and you get off at the next exit. You stop and grab McDonald’s as your dad checks out the hitch. The Hurricane is upgraded to a Category 4. You remember the homeless man sleeping at the bus stop on your way out of Charleston.


Your dad can’t seem to find what is wrong with the trailer hitch, so you have to take the back roads all the way to Savannah. The traffic is murder and the anticipation is worse, but at least the drive is pretty. You pass by the wildlife preserve as the sun begins to set. You check your updates. The hurricane is going to hit North Carolina, where all of your relatives live. Your mom calls your sister in Raleigh.


You arrive in Savannah in one piece and check into the campground. They have a park and a pond where you can rent rowboats. Your family orders a pizza and watches America’s Got Talent. There is not a cloud in sight.


The next morning your family rent the rowboats for awhile. When you get back to the camper, you notice that your dog - he’s 13 years old and has cancer - is not doing so well with the stress. He can barely breathe, and can’t even lie down because the mass in his stomach hurts too much. Your family takes him to the nearby vet. The vet says his organs are failing and you have to put him down. She says his ashes will be sent to Charleston after the hurricane.


You come home - to the camper - and check the news. The news now says the hurricane could end up turning toward Charleston, and maybe even Savannah. You think about all of your belongings in Charleston, tucked away in a first-story condo, and hope the flooding won’t affect your building. But that’s the least of your worries. You think about your family.


Your family watches the results for America’s Got Talent.