House of The Setting Sun, Part I

I pictured Hurricane Harvey as an old man with one of those old-style hats like a hamburger bun. Even when he ravished Houston the absurd image persisted. With Hurricane Nate, I could only see some young 20-something kid on his way to New Orleans for Fat Tuesday, ready to heave all over the city that Nancy and I were planning on visiting.

These thoughts played out in my head as I laid in the dark of our bedroom. We’d had the room booked, had restaurant reservations, had a river boat cruise lined up—we wanted to be unabashed, un-ironic New Orleans tourists.

The recurring thought of “We’ll risk it. We’ll call its bluff,” pushed through the noise in my head, just like it did with Harvey. But we didn’t risk Harvey or call its bluff. We fled to Austin—to Nancy’s sister’s.

“You’re just wasting time.” I thought. I nudged Nancy.

“Huh?” She asked from her side of the bed.

“Let’s cancel New Orleans. There’s a storm coming. And this was going to be our last trip for a while.” Her belly was just beginning to show, 20 weeks into her pregnancy.

“Let’s just drive West instead, to Marfa and Big Bend.”

Under the hush of early morning we dressed and prepared. It would be one last push before the baby.

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