BY DARLENE P. CAMPOS
Floods aren’t anything new in Houston. We’ve gone through hurricanes before. We knew the neighborhoods most prone to flooding before Harvey paid us his visit. We prepared ourselves with full hoards of food, bottled water, and gas. We thought we were ready.
Harvey showed us we were wrong the minute he arrived.
Yet, unlike thousands of fellow Houstonians and Texans in other cities, I didn’t lose anything.
I didn’t lose power.
I didn’t lose water.
I didn’t lose my car.
I didn’t lose my house.
I didn’t lose my life.
The only physical loss I had was a couple of pounds because I was so petrified, I could barely eat. Harvey made me lose weight. That’s it.
Harvey also made me lose pieces of my heart. The neighborhood where I grew up is in shambles. A beloved bakery my fiancé and I visited whenever we wanted a good dessert is gone. The libraries I practically lived in during my college years are severely damaged. Watching your city, the place you call home, conquered by floodwaters is agonizing. Yet, Harvey did not take Houston’s hope. We Houstonians watched our city be ravaged by Harvey. We Houstonians have come together to rebuild.
After Harvey, I was overjoyed to be unharmed, but I felt so guilty to be spared. Why didn’t Harvey come for me? He tried. He flooded my entire street and then the water crept up to the rear of my car. By morning, the water receded. Harvey came close. For others, he came full force and showed no mercy.
I pledge to donate my royalties from September 15th through October 15th to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. For the next month, all of my royalties will go directly to helping Houstonians rebuild their lives. Please visit https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/ for more info or to donate.
“And so there are claims forgiven
And so there are things that are gone
Houston is filled with promise…”
R.E.M., “Houston,” 2008
Darlene P. Campos earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. She also graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in English-Creative Writing and a minor in medicine and Social Studies. She is from Guayaquil, Ecuador, but currently lives in Houston, TX with her husband David and an adorable pet rabbit named Jake. Her website is www.darlenepcampos.com. You can support her work here.