ShatteredEvery morning I remember.
I remember the house that used to stand on our lot, with blonde brick and large picture windows decorated with our Precious Daughter's art work. I remember the houses that used to stand to the left and to the right, three houses in a long line of suburban homes that filled Vista Park, our three properties now vacant and covered in wild greenery that has taken over the void.
I remember the houses that used to stand across the street on land now leveled and vacant. The Marine family who I still think of as neighbors even though they bought a house 850 miles from here and will not return to New Orleans. The retired dentist and his wife who have both since passed away and who I count as victims of the flood.
As I walk to my car, a glinting catches my eye and I focus on tiny shards of mirror mixed with sand and road grit in the street gutter. Although our house and the houses around it were crushed and carted away many months ago, tiny souvenirs still occasionally present themselves. A cap from a bottle of nail polish. A flattened fork. And today, these glittering pebbles of a shattered mirror.
So much was destroyed here, and in the past two years, a flood of effort to clean it up has followed. Houses throughout the neighborhood have been or are being repaired, rebuilt, or replaced with new homes. But the residue of Hurricane Katrina lingers. How long will it be before it is completely washed away? The stop sign at the corner, still tilting at an improper angle, bears the stain of the waterline that drowned this neighborhood two years ago, broke and scattered the people who made their homes here.
The smashed pieces are a constant reminder--as if I need their help. I won't forget what this place used to be and what happened to the houses, the gardens, and of course, the people shattered by what happened here.
Every morning I remember.