This story is by Autumn Sage and was part of our 10th Anniversary Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The night was cold and the rain was furious with anger. We have been getting a lot of rainfall here lately, but at the time I didn’t think much of it. I mean who would? You may be thinking to yourself “Oh what’s a little rain going to do it can’t hurt you!” “Or can it?” I had never really thought much about that night since it happened. These were the days leading up to The Fall. I got home from work, ate dinner, took a shower, and sat down to watch some TV when my boyfriend called.
“Hey what’s up?” I said with excitement.
“Nothing much.” He said sarcastically.
“Okay so you know it’s been raining like an insane amount lately?” He said rhetorically.
“Yeah so? It’s just rain.” I said confused.
“That’s what I thought too but the sea levels have been rising like super-fast especially near us.” He said like he was leading up to something. Devon worked at the New Institute of Technology as a Environmental Science professor. So, he was always looking at water levels.
“Okay so is this like a ‘we should pack our bags and leave’ kind of thing? Or what?” I said perplexed.
“Kind of, I mean not to sound harsh but if it keeps raining like ‘this’, I’m not sure any of us will be here.” He stated almost sounding dazed.
At the time I thought Devon sounded crazy. To me, it just sounded like another conspiracy theory. But as time went on, I learned to trust people’s instincts, especially his. As the week went on, the topic of water just kept coming up everywhere. Mostly at work. I worked at The New York Times so it was kind of my job to look out for anything new or out of the ordinary.
“Hey Mulwary, got anything new?” Jake said. Jake’s my work friend we’ve known each other for years. Oh, and you don’t even know my name. Hello, my name is Sage John Marie Mulwary. You may be wondering why I have two middle names. Well, I’ll tell you ones my grandfather’s name and the other are my grandmother’s name. They passed away before I was born so I got their names in their honor.
“Nope. I got nothing.” I said defeated.
“Everyone’s got the best story and I’m just stuck here trying to write a story on sea levels.” I said miserably.
“What? Why sea levels there are so many other things to write about. No wonder you’re so gloomy.” Jake said with a smile.
“Well, if you really want to know Devon said that they have been rising like really fast.” I said trying not to sound stupid.
“If it really means that much to you just write it.” He said trying not to sound rude.
“Yeah, you make it sound so easy.” I said as I looked back at my computer.
So, the first thing I do to get started on an article is trying to watch as many videos as I can about that topic. So that’s what I did. I fell down a rabbit hole of theories about how Manhattan, Hoboken, and downtown Jersey City are going to be gone in 10 years. My article was mostly about the fact that these people are right. For the most part anyway.
As I was writing some of my coworker’s phones went off. It felt like I was in a movie. I picked up my phone and read the alert. It stated that everyone should leave Manhattan the moment they get this and that there are flights leaving from JFK and LaGuardia.
“Jake, did you get a text?” I said.
“No. Wait what?” He said confused. I handed him the phone so he could read the text.
“Ok so do you want me to drive or what?” He said calmly.
“How are you ok with this! I said almost screaming. He stood up from his desk and grabbed me by the shoulders and said
“If you were told to get on this fight whether it’s for your safety or not I want to help you in any way that I can.” As he told me this a single tear ran down my face.
“All right let’s get you on that plane.” He said optimistically.
As we got into the car, I called Devon and asked if he had gotten a text too. He had. We made a plan to meet him at my gate. As Jake and I pulled up to the airport I told him to stay safe and make good decisions. As he opened my door and we said our goodbyes, we saw all the other flights leaving. I had never seen the airport so full there was barely room to walk. But I didn’t see him, I was starting to lose hope when I was struck with an idea.
I went over to the desk at my gate and asked if Devon Ashford was on the plane’s manifest.
“Yes, he’s on this fight.” the man at the desk said.
‘Is he on the plane already? Do you know?” I said nervously.
“I’m sorry ma’am I can’t tell you that. There are too many people on this flight.” He said.
As I boarded the plane. I wondered if this would be my last time seeing New York. Right as I was on the plane someone tapped me on the shoulder it was Devon.
“Oh my god, I’m so glad you’re here.” I said as we hugged.
“I was right.” Devon said with a smile.
As we were getting settled, I asked Devon
“What do you think is going to happen?”
“For one, I think The Croton Dam is going to break. It can’t hold any more water.” He said confidently.
As the plane took off, we saw the rush of water consume the island and cover everything in its path. I will never forget that day. It’s been ten years since then. Devon and I have had a rough time with moving around because we never had the guarantee of being safe. There was always the question if we’d even see tomorrow. Then we had our daughter. She was the ray of sunshine through all the dark. We named her Dawn because when she was born a new chapter started for us. I hope by the time her kids are born someone will have found a way to put things back together again and the world will come together as one.