It’s a quiet Friday evening.
I sit alone in my apartment eating white beans and rice seasoned with Jalapeno peppers soaking in white vinegar.
Who knew such a cheap meal could taste so good?
After I take my last bite, I clear my table and walk to the kitchen sink to wash dishes.
I pour some dish detergent in the basin and draw the hot water.
As I wash the pots, plates, and utensils, I think about my wonderful girlfriend and how she and I will spend the day together tomorrow.
I am 31 and she is 27, but we pretend that she is 17 and I am 21.
She brightens up my otherwise sad life and I thank God for her and only wish that we would have met much sooner.
Suddenly, I hear a very loud sound, as if large a bomb went off. My whole apartment vibrates.
I look out from my second story kitchen window to see a giant fireball against the night sky.
There must have been some kind of an explosion at the tank barge terminal.
I passed through this area on a daily basis for years, to attend school and work never once thinking that the whole place could go up in flames.
It wasn’t until I began drawing disability and moved into the apartment complex adjacent to the tank farms that the thought of an explosion crossed my mind.
I watch the flames light up the sky.
Suddenly, the weather radio in my kitchen sounds its siren.
I touch the screen so I can hear the broadcast.
My thoughts and fears are confirmed there was an explosion at the tank barge terminal.
I walk into my living room, adjust my antenna and switch my television set on.
I tune it to the local news station.
High school football is interrupted by an emergency bulletin.
The station owner is now live and he seems to think that this explosion was no accident and therefore an act of terrorism.
I watch him tell his viewers how justice must be served.
In actuality, I’m disappointed but not surprised at all. There has been serious division in this country for some time now and our enemies laugh at us.
They also know our weak points all too well.
Suddenly, there is a knock at my door.
A young sheriff’s deputy orders me to evacuate immediately.
I promptly comply with the orders and then beg him, “Please be careful.”
“I’ll try my best, sir, you just get your butt out of here,” He replies.
With that, I place two tee shirts and two pairs of pants in my everyday carry backpack, along with my medications and the few valuables I can take with me, then walk out the door.
I lock the deadbolt, then walk down the stairs to my car, a 1991 Oldsmobile.
As I put the key in my ignition, my phone rings.
It’s my girlfriend calling.
Hurriedly, I answer, “Hey, Bae.”
“There was an explosion near you. Are you all right?”
“Yes, I have to evacuate, so I hope I can come your way.”
“Please do! I definitely need to see you right now anyway, because I was so afraid you were killed in that awful explosion.”
“I’m okay, in fact, I’m pulling out of the complex’s parking lot right now.”
“Okay, focus on driving safely.”
“Traffic might be very dense right now, though.”
“Just be careful, I’ll wait all night for you if I have to.”
“Okay, bae I’ll get there when I can. I love you and I don’t ever want to lose you.”
“I love you too and you won’t.”
“Okay, bae, bye.”
I continue driving.
Cops are directing traffic at every signaled intersection, to get everyone out quickly.
I drive through the darkness. The closer I get to my girlfriend’s family’s house, it seems the longer the trip takes.
Finally, I pull into the driveway, where she is nervously sitting on the porch.
I step out of my car and she longingly rushes up to me.
We embrace, then share several sweet kisses.
“Thank God, you’re safe, bae!” She tells me.
I hold her by her beautiful, curvy waist, then look her in the eyes and speak, “I love you so much, bae!”
“I love you too!” She replies.
Her family then greets me, angered over the terrorist attack, but relieved that I survived…