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It was a different kind of silence, one that charged the air electric.

The flurry of boarding windows and throwing bags in cars had all come and gone, and now the island air buzzed, like the hum of a jet engine waiting to leap into the vast sky. It was the inhale before plunging into water, the airborne moment mid-stride in a run, that hover at the top of a roller coaster.

Walking across the island downtown, a few guys lingered in front of the one restaurant still open, drinking beer. They sat at the top of the street staring down the empty sidewalks at the boarded windows and piles of sandbags.

The downtown had seen quiet already this year, when the early days of the pandemic shuttered businesses and drove people home. Now, it was still again, but we were all looking to the skies.

But as soon as I turned the corner, I was alone. Wind rustled the trees. A brilliant sunset crowned the deserted streets.

I waited from behind taped windows. We didn't know. We'd didn't know for certain the storm would pass us. We didn't know the winds would skirt around. We didn't know if we'd wake up to rivers. As the night crept into the sky, I waited, watching the trees sway,


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