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The Video

Reality sets in for Colby Crean (9) after receiving video of destroyed neighborhood

10:50 p.m. I got the video. The video that broke my heart. A video of someone driving by my neighborhood in daylight with my whole neighborhood gone.
At first I couldn’t move, but then I ran outside and sat against my car in the street and cried and cried until I couldn’t breathe with my dad next to me trying his best to calm me down.
Looking at that video over and over again, I felt like someone kept slapping me across my face.
When I was little, my parents always told me, “Our house is the safest place ever. It’s surrounded by the fire station and the police station.” Little me, thinking nothing could ever happen to my house, was wrong.
Later that night, I had more notifications than ever before. The “I’m so sorry” and “I’m here for you” felt like words that were supposed to be something, but all I felt was numbness.
My sister and dad fell asleep at 2 a.m., but I stayed up the whole night. I was trying to wrap my head around how I started the day racing down a mountain laughing and ended it by crying in a friend’s basement.
The second day was harder. After getting one hour of sleep I was tired mentally and physically.
We packed up our stuff and went to our house, looking around for an hour but not being able to get close. My sister and I both cried every time we looked up.
I looked at the backyard where I had thrown my dog’s toys around a thousand times—it was gone. All those memories burnt down in less than 24 hours.
Walking back to the car, I couldn’t believe that the houses where I had walked passed with my dogs or the path I took all summer to get to my friend’s house were all gone.
The whole neighborhood was gone.
Once I was finally settled into my temporary house, a new problem began—school.
At first, I thought that was what I needed, but, only a week in, I realized this was bad. Trying to balance everything—homework and tests—was destroying me. I felt unbalanced and every little thing started getting on my nerves.
The second week I started getting the worst migraines I’ve ever had. I knew I needed help but didn’t know how to ask.
Everything around me started getting worse—my mood, stress, anger, and sadness. It was all going wrong, and I didn’t feel like I could do anything but watch as everything went by me.
As I felt the world go back to normal, I felt frozen.
How could people go back to normal after everything that happened? I felt like everyone was moving too fast. Two weeks to feel better about it when I had lived in that house for 14 years?!
It didn’t feel fair. I needed more time. I still need more time.
I thought the first week would be the worst, but it keeps getting worse. The stress, the crying, the loneliness—and being homesick.
I can’t imagine calling another place home.
I wish I was able to say I’m better or end this on a better note, but I don’t feel that way.
It’s far from okay, or the end.
It’s going to be a long road ahead, and I don’t know if I’m ready for it.

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