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The wind whipped my face as I walked down the beautiful beach my winter cottage was on. The sand squeaked like nails on a chalkboard as my wet feet trotted through it and the air smelled just the way I liked it. The salty odor reached my nose as I took a deep breath. The waves crashed over my feet with a light “shhh” sound, the sound similar to a mother when she is trying to calm her baby down. I could tell a storm was coming by the look of the dark grey clouds zooming towards me above the surface of the water, and a light sprinkle was coming down onto the scalp of my head. The tiny droplets seemed to almost evaporate instantly upon impact, due to the warm climate where I was at the moment. A thick fog was also beginning to form in front of me, which made me have to squint to see anywhere more than two or three feet in front of me. The fog was starting to get very thick and I could almost taste the salty, misty air. There it was, my house, up ahead. The warm breeze was now at my back, pushing me towards my house. I tripped over a small rock sticking out of the path leading up to my house and I felt my warm, clammy hands hit the soft ground with a “THUD”. I picked myself up, using the strength I still had left, and my muscles strained as my weight shifted back to my feet and off of my hands and knees. I managed to grab the cold metal of the doorknob and hull myself inside before crashing onto the soft, warm cushions of my pullout couch which creaked as I climbed onto it. After attending to me, to make sure I was alright, my mom brought me some pretzels to munch on. There is a long history between me and pretzels, but I won’t go there right now. The salty smell and the grains of salt on the pretzels reminded me of the ocean, and of the...of the…I had dozed off.

The rain was pounding on the roof when my eyes blinked open. I had somehow managed to get myself into my room in the middle of the night

“Oh, No!,” I whispered to myself as I took a quick glance at the window and heard the gushing of the wind. I realized I had left the window open and the floor of my tiny bedroom was drenched in almost 2 inches of water. I dipped my toes into the glassy looking water and a warm refreshing feeling brushed over my body. As I climbed out of my bed, the springs in the mattress creaked like old door hinges. The sound was music to my ears. It always was a comforting sound as it was the sound I had woken up to for the past several years, ever since we had bought the cottage. I trotted over to the dusty windowsill and grasped the little ledge on the bottom of the window. I gently pushed the window shut with a “clang”. I splashed through the water and walked down the steps to the dry cold basement. A chill ran over me as I stepped onto the scaly carpet. I stumbled into the storage room and reached forward as I grabbed the small ground fan from a cold metal shelf. For those of you that don’t know, a ground fan is one of fans that people use to dry off the floor, almost like a giant hair dryer tipped upside down. I hauled it up the steps and managed to place it down on a stool in my bedroom. Within 5 minutes, the fan was blowing air onto the glassy water, creating ripples as though giant raindrops were falling on the water. I went to my mom and talked to her about the water and how I had solved the problem of the water.

“That’s great, honey. I love to see that you’re solving your own problems. Now let’s go and run some errands,” She said in her usual gentle voice, the one that always comforted me and that I was used to.

“Ugh, I HATE running errands!” I burst out, “It’s always so boring...And please tell me that Hannah won’t be coming along, we’ll end up spending $300 more if we bring her along.”

Hannah is my 8-year-old sister who I’m pretty sure is the brattiest person her age you will ever meet. She is also super girly. Literally, 24/7 she is always complaining to my mother ‘O-M-G, Mom, I need more makeup, I look terrible!’ or ‘Mom, take me to Starbucks, I need to get my daily latte’ or even ‘Get over here, Mom! I need you to take me to get another pair of yoga pants because my other 25 pairs are not the right shade of black... and while we’re at it, I need new shoes!’

‘Wait, don’t you already have a lot of shoes?’

‘Only 57 pairs!’


This was the typical conversation between my mom and my sister, them going back and forth in loud blabbering until finally my sister gets what she wants. I don’t know what it is, but my mom seems to crack very easily when dealing with Hannah, because Hannah always seems to get her way no matter what.

“I know you don’t like to go shopping with me, but there’s no other option, and Hannah will have to come with us too because I don’t have time to make a nail appointment for her or drive her to the spa,” she said sharply.

“Okay, fine,” I gently said back, “but can we at least stay away from the beauty aisle,”

“Alright, let’s go then,” she replied. I walked to the door as my mom basically screamed for my sister to come downstairs. Her voice echoed all around the house.

“But Mom, I need to finish doing my nails,” I could hear my sister squeal from above.

“Hannah, come down NOW, or I’ll take your makeup kit away!” she boomed

That seemed to do the trick. Hannah came bursting out the bottom of the stairwell at such a speed that she FLEW out the open front door and landed, sprawled on the ground, in our front yard. By now the rain had slowed to a heavy sprinkle.

“Get in the car, Hannah!” my mom shouted. Hannah quickly picked herself up and clambered into the car. I followed her into the car and we were soon on our way. When we finally returned, it was almost lunch so I decided to grab a bite to eat. Just as I was finishing my crisp, grilled cheese sandwich, the telephone rang.

RRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIINNNGGG!!!!!!! It was my friend from school back in Bozeman, Montana which is where my normal house is. My family only spends time at our Florida cottage for a few weeks or a month at the most. During the time we’re down here, I get short break from school. Anyways, my friend, Jackson was calling to ask me when I was coming back.

“I’m not sure, Jackson,” I replied, “we just arrived in Florida about a week ago so I’m assuming we should be back in a week or two.”

“Well, I just wanted to let you know, I’ve been watching the weather closely lately, and the weather reporters said that Florida is supposed to get slammed with rain in a couple of days. They’re calling it a tropical storm or even a hurricane. I think it’s best if you get out of Florida as soon as you can. There’s supposed to be serious flooding, and if you don’t get out soon enough, they say the airlines will shut down. You’ll be stuck in Florida until the storm’s over!” Jackson was shouting at me.

“Okay, Okay, Jackson! I’ll let my parents know and hopefully we’ll be out of here by tomorrow,” I replied back, also shouting.

“Alright, good luck, Andrew.”

“Seeya, Jackson. Bye.”

I put the phone down with a ‘clang’ and dashed into the study where my mom was working.

“Mom, we gotta get out of here. A huge storm is coming and there’s supposed to be enormous floods all over the west coast of florida,” I boomed at her.

“Honey, I was just thinking the same thing. I just checked the weather and we really don’t want to be stuck here when this storm hits.  I’ll change the plane tickets to a flight back home tomorrow and meanwhile you should start packing up. Oh… and tell your sister as well,” she gently said to me. She had no fear in her voice, at least from what I could tell.

Since we were only planning on staying in Florida for 3 weeks, I really didn’t have much to pack up. I hauled a suitcase up the stairs and began piling my clothes, gently into it. In no time I was packed up and ready to go. I packed a small backpack with things to do on the plane which included a book(Harry Potter, of course), My iPod for music and games, and some snacks along with a water bottle. Somehow, although I hadn’t told her, my sister figured out the plan and began packing up as well. I assumed her bag was 90% full of makeup, shoes, and yoga pants. The other 10% was the other necessary articles of clothing. ten minutes later, my mom emerged from behind the wall of the study.

“10:45 tomorrow morning. That’s when our flight is. We need to be leaving here by 7:30 or 7:45 in the morning,” my mom said to me and my sister. We had been standing against the cold, dry wall, waiting for my mom to come out.

“Alright, Mom. Thanks for getting the tickets changed. We’ll be ready to go in the morning,” I blabbered out in reply.

Soon enough, it was morning, and it would be a long day for us. The whole day would pretty much be spent on an airplane. Since Bozeman is a relatively small city, we had to change planes in Atlanta, Georgia which made it  even longer of a trip. At least we would be able to get lunch there. My mom, my sister, and I all piled into our rental car, a 2010 Ford focus. From where my house is to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport is about 25 minutes so it was a relatively quick trip for me. We hastily turned in our rental car and rushed to the check-in lines. The whole airport was packed with people.

“The Ft. Lauderdale airport, crowded with people?” I thought silently to myself.

This is the Ft. Lauderdale airport I’m talking about. It’s relatively small and hardly ever has a line at security or check-in. Today there was a huge line at both. I was expecting the line to go extremely slow but the lines went very fast. In about 30 minutes we were through security and ready to go find our gate. Just as we started moving down the moving walkway the airport intercom came on.

“All flights departing Ft. Lauderdale will be departing 1 hour earlier than the scheduled departure time due to heavy storms coming in the following hours,” a smooth, male, computerized voice said, “ If you are unable to make your flight, please let us know and we’d be happy to help you. Thank you for your cooperation, and as always, thanks for choosing Ft. Lauderdale Airport. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.” The intercom cut off.

“Well, at least it will get us out of here sooner,” I said, out loud to my sister and my mom. I looked up at the clock. It read ‘9:04’.  

“Mom. We’ve got ten minutes until they start boarding our plane. Remember, they start boarding a half and hour before the flight,” I gently said, but in a harsh tone.

“We better get going then,” she replied, “Come on, Hannah!”

My sister had wandered off and was now checking out the small hair salon called ‘Air Styles’ across the  walkway although she did get rejected access to it and came running back to my mom and I, crying. She told us that only people over 16-years-old were allowed. We hastily walked to one of the flight monitors, found our flight and what gate our plane would be leaving from.

“Lucky us. That’s our gate right over there,” I told my mom and sister.

Sure enough, I could see our gate. It was about 100 yards away, from what I could see, and there was a small glowing sign with the gate number on it. We walked over to one of those comfy, blue chairs that are lined up in neat rows, and plopped ourselves down on them. There was a small sprinkle of rain outside and the sky was grey and gloomy.  I was just beginning to doze off when they called our zone to board.

In no time, we were on the plane and pulling out of the gate. The sound of the engines, which were attached to the wings, could be heard throughout the cabin of the plane, and it echoed off the rounded walls of the aircraft. The safety video was playing silently in the cabin on those dumb overhead TV’s that I absolutely hated and there was a slight ‘bump, bump, bump’ as the plane moved forwards over the ground. The wings of the plane oscillated up and down, ever so slightly as the plane lined up for takeoff. The engines roared as the plane sped up, the ‘bump, bump, bump’ got faster until it was so fast that it was almost unnoticeable. I glanced at my seatbelt to make sure it was fastened as the plane slowly lifted off from the ground. After just 5 seconds of being in the air, the plane bounced in the air. It bounced so hard it felt like we’d hit the ground even though we hadn’t. Next the plane tilted back and forth as the pilot obviously struggled to keep the plane steady. The plane bounced on the air again, and this time the plane flipped 180 degrees so all the passengers were hanging by our seatbelts. People in the plane screamed, including me, my mom, and my sister. Carry-on luggage fell from the floor to the ceiling of the plane and then back to the floor as the pilot managed to flip the plane over again. The engines roared again, this time more loudly than when we were taking off and you could tell that the pilot had pushed the throttle all the way to the maximum. The plane shot above the clouds and the sky was as clear as a summer day.

“We must’ve hit a microburst or something that flipped our plane over,” I said, flabberghasted, to my family, “I’m surprised the pilot didn’t crash the plane. He must be a pretty skilled pilot.”

“I’m still trying to get my breath back,” my mom replied back to me.

                             The rest of the plane was still buzzing with fright as the flight attendants walked through the cabin and tried to calm people down. Later in the flight they brought around those carts with the food and drinks on them. As always I got bag of pretzels.

As the plane began to descend into Atlanta, the cabin was still buzzing with slight fright. As we touched down on the runway, the cabin burst into applause. minutes later, we were disembarking the plane and boarding another plane that would take us to Bozeman.

Several of the people on the other flight were also on the flight to Bozeman, so the flight was still very loud, and everyone was paranoid that the plane would crash. But nothing every happened on that flight to Montana, but I will never forget that experience I had on that flight to Atlanta. As we exited the airport, my buddy Jackson was waiting for me. A huge surprise for me!

“I’m so glad you made it back safely!!!” he exclaimed to me.

“You know, Jackson, I am too.”


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