Thursday, after still not hearing from Steven I began to get a little concerned. I figured he was alright but the nagging feeling of WHAT IF haunted the thoughts clinging to the back of my mind. My parents agreed to drive down a few roads to try and find any neighbors (up to a couple of miles away) who might still have landlines since cell services were still inactive. A wonderful neighbor and friend of our family graciously agreed to let me use their phone and I began trying to get in touch with Steven’s parents – figuring if he was ANYWHERE, it’d be there.
But, their phone was out, too.
I tried calling his mom’s work – but, they’d closed down pretty much the entire town.
I called the armory, because I’d heard soldiers were being activated – only that hadn’t heard from him, either.
Frustrated, I pulled out the hand-me-down cell phone he’d given me a year ago and went through his old contact list, looking for landlines of those who have served or worked or befriended him. Nothing.
Lines were down everywhere.
And, then I called his coworker. I was sure that if nothing else, Steven would’ve shown up for work – or tried. I knew my chances of getting through were slim but I was sure that if I could, he’d be able to tell me Steven was okay. As the phone connected and a woman answered the phone, I sighed a breath of relief.
“Have you seen S?” I asked, after he’d been given the phone.
“No, he’s not been into work…”
“O-oh,” I stammered. My heart fell and all of the horrid thoughts that’d previously been lurking in the darkness of my brain came forward, refusing to be constrained any longer. “I – I haven’t heard from him since Tuesday…he was supposed to call…the armory hasn’t heard from him…landlines aren’t working….I’m out of town…” the words barely made sense as I forced them out, talking only in fragments. “Can you find him?” I finished.
He vowed he’d check our home and his parents’ and let me know something. I gave him a contact number and hung up the phone. Tears came freely as I thought about the possibilities…and that I may know nothing for an unknown amount of time.
Meanwhile, somewhere in a different town – that same coworker drove to the addresses I’d given him until he found Steven, who was safe and sound with his parents (also without power or phones). After trying to call and being unable to reach me at my normal numbers, his parents decided they’d drive him to meet me.
My family and I had gathered in my uncle’s home with gas cookers for a fish fry (because it was beginning to thaw). Their big screen tv had been hooked up to a generator and for a moment I’d all but forgotten my current troubles.
Then, there was a knock at the front door and we wondered who we’d forgotten was coming…but it was him! Relief flooded me. FLOODED. I looked behind me at Lorelei, sleeping and red-faced, all bundled up on the couch.
He had actually run all the way up the road (because vehicles couldn’t get through, and it’s a pretty long way) in snow and ice. My uncle went to get his parents, to show them a different way around the fallen trees. And, things were good again. Everybody was okay.
In the rest of town, electricity in certain areas were being restored – especially the hospitals which were still running on generators. Then, special attention was paid to hotels (since workers were coming in from different states to help), grocery stores, and gas stations – as well as any surrounding homes that happened to be in those areas. Lines at gas stations were long (up to an hour’s wait) and tempers began flaring. People began traveling out of state just to get generators and fuel – while others packed their things and went to warmer places.