The painful sound of the alarm started again at 6:15am. Charlotte knew that if she pressed the snooze button one more time, her mother would come angrily knocking on her door, yelling that she had to hurry up if she wanted to make it to school on time. Of course her mother would also be yelling in the car on their way there, mad at her for not being able to wake up on time to have a proper breakfast.
“You are 10 years old, Charlie! You are at the most important stage of your growth, if you keep having pre-packed chocolate milk for breakfast you’ll end up being a short and skinny teenager. You don’t want to be the shortest on your class, do you?” Charlie imagined her mother angrily scolding her. She still hesitated on wether she should jump in the shower or sleep for 15 more minutes, she decided for the lather.
Charlotte finally woke up at about 7:00 am in panic, rushing to the bathroom to get ready, she was so late for school and she was surprised that her mother didn’t wake her up. When she was ready and walked down the stairs, her mother called her from the kitchen and on her way there she looked through the patio crystal doors, what she could make of it was completely trashed, her father’s spice garden was underwater and a bunch of branches from the big tree she loved to climb were creeping up from the waving pool the rain had formed, the dog’s house could be seen floating on the far end of the patio. Charlie grabbed her backpack straps with all her strength, she was scared and tears started to pour from her eyes because her dog Cyrus was nowhere to be seen on the big pool her patio was now. She knew how much he hated swimming and water in general, so she ran to the kitchen wit tears on her eyes.
“What’s wrong Charlie?” Amelia, Charlotte’s mother, asked.
“Cyrus, mom! Theres a pool where our patio used to be and and and…” She tried to continue, but she was interrupted by her older brother entering the room with Cyrus on his arms.
“Cyrus!” Charlie dropped her back pack and took the little chihuahua from her brother, hugging him tightly.
“Can Cyrus drive me to school with you, mommy?” She said, while putting him down.
“Honey, school has been canceled.” Her mother said, leaving out the fact that it was because the storm left much of the city flooded. All the rivers overflowed and streams became so big, people had to evacuate their homes.
Charlie started jumping excitedly. Then she had her breakfast with her parents and brother, and when she finished she asked her mom for permission to change back to her pajamas and watch cartoons. Amelia told her to clean her plate first and then she could go change and watch tv in the family room.
When the girl entered the tv room the first thing she noticed was the blinds were down, so she proceeded to put them up and as soon as she did she let out a scared gasp. Her home sat at a high point near the Santa Catarina river. It is a very long river that crosses through the heart of the city of Monterrey in México. Even though is a dry river, it has been filled on occasion with the help of some extraordinary hurricanes and storms, like hurricane Gilbert back in the 80s, but Charlie wasn’t even born when that happened. She was terrified whenever she watched movies about tornados, volcanos and hurricanes but in all her innocence she thought that since her city was surrounded by five giant mountains, it was protected against every natural disaster, but when she saw the violent flow of the river, her belief turned to pieces.
Amelia got into the room and saw her daughter standing in distress by the window so she turned the tv on and call her to sit by her side. While channel surfing a title on a foreign news channel caught her eye:
“A second airplane has crashed on the World Trade Center” Read the title. Amelia immediately turned to see Charlie, knowing she was trying to distract her over-empathic girl from the tough reality of what had happened in their city that morning, only to watch her break over a bigger tragedy that happened somewhere else.