Regie Adams was a forty-year-old dairy farm worker born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had worked at a local dairy farm for twenty years, where they sold milk to the city. His days were interminable, and he had to get up at four o’clock in the morning and didn’t go to bed until nine or ten. After many years of feeding, cleaning, and milking cows every day, he got tired of it and decided to move to Florida, the Sunshine State, where most of the year was sunny and warm. With beautiful beaches, a diverse population, delectable food, and theme parks, Regie was sold.
His mother, Leila, didn’t like him moving away. Regie was her only child, and with his father’s passing away a few years ago, she didn’t want to live alone. But Regie was a grown man and had already decided to be on his own. He was persistent until she couldn’t say no and let her son go. With just a few clothes and toiletries in his backpack, Regie took the next bus out of the city for a new life, a new beginning, and a new adventure.
It was a lengthy trip, and after two days on the road, Regie arrived in Miami. As he stepped off the bus, his excitement turned into anxiety when he felt something in the air that made him feel eerie. The wind howled, and the sky was filled with dark clouds. When it rained, he ran underneath a gigantic pine tree for shelter. Regie looked around and saw a single-story motel nearby. He waited until the wind died down, braved the elements, and ran to a motel and checked in. Regie got the last room, to the dismay of a few people who had just arrived.
The room had a sitting area and a queen-sized bed. It was small, but clean. He unpacked his clothes and put them on a dresser. Regie called his mother, letting her know he had arrived in Miami and found a place to stay. He could hear his mother sobbing on the other end. Leila calmed down after reassuring her that he was fine and there was nothing to worry about. Regie promised he would call more often and told her he loved her before hanging up.
Regie took a quick shower and turned on the TV. There was nothing to watch except the news and weather updates. More rain was expected. His stomach growled, and he realized he hadn’t eaten since last night. He looked out the window and saw a coffee shop across the street. There was a free delivery sign on the window. He dialed the number and ordered a cheeseburger, fries, and a coke, and charged it to his credit card. Fifteen minutes later, there was a knock on the door. Regie peered through the blinds and saw the delivery guy at the door. He opened it, and the man handed him a brown paper bag with his order. Regie gave him a $2 tip.
Regie ate and watched television until he passed out from exhaustion. He was sound asleep when a loud noise woke him. It was the sound of the wind howling and powerful wind gusts continuing to pound on the windows. Regie looked at the clock on the nightstand. It was 2 a.m. He cranked up the volume on the TV to catch up on the news. The mayor ordered the residents of the city to evacuate, as the storm gained strength. Regie jumped when he heard a loud crashing noise outside. He looked out the window and saw a heavy tree branch fall on a row of cars in the parking lot, damaging them. Regie panicked. He grabbed all his belongings and put them back in his backpack, closing the door behind him. He needed to get to the nearest emergency shelter. Regie braved the weather, shielding his face from the rain with his hand, but it was too late. In a matter of seconds, Hurricane Lucy slammed into the Florida coast. It hit without warning.
People were running in every direction as debris flew. A fallen tree trunk blocked Regie’s way, and it was safer for him to stay indoors and wait until they rescued him. Regie returned to his room and took shelter inside the closet, bracing himself for what would happen as the windows shattered. He prayed nothing bad would happen to him. Regie didn’t know how long he had been inside, but he could feel the building shake a few times, as if the roof was being ripped off. He could not believe his first day in Miami might be his last. Regie prayed hard that he survived this catastrophe.
The storm passed several hours later. Everything died down, and the sky cleared. Regie was standing in the middle of the room, surveying the damage. The roof had collapsed, shingles littered the floor, and water flooded the carpet. It destroyed everything. Regie was grateful he was alive, and that was what mattered. He heard police and ambulance sirens coming. Regie grabbed his backpack and walked outside. He joined the others who had congregated in front of the coffee shop across the street. Regie tried calling his mother to let her know he was okay, but there was no power and no phone signal.
Many businesses, buildings, and houses were destroyed. Large trees were uprooted or damaged. The local government and Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at public schools undamaged by the storm, and provided food, clothing, and temporary sleeping arrangements.
It took a few days for the power to be restored. Regie took the next bus out of the city when public workers and volunteers cleaned up the debris and cleared the roads. He had had it with Miami.