Waiting on Matthew
I’m posted up at the Little River Coffee Bar in downtown Spartanburg sipping their Nitro brew and obsessively watching Twitter for the latest Hurricane Matthew news. Patrons wander in soggy from the rain, and wander out with coffee cups and boxes of fresh bakery goods. I drove three hours from Charleston late yesterday afternoon to huddle in at a friend’s house with their other refugee visitors. When I arrived, road weary and starved, Colin mixed up a Hurricane cocktail for me and I planted myself on his leather sofa. His fiancé and sister-in-law rolled in the door soon after, and we took a whiskey tour through his liquor cabinet and talked into the early morning hours. I fell into bed at 2:00 a.m. and stirred at 9:30 sans alarm clock, wondering what Mother Nature had in store for this Friday.
The rain fell heavy earlier this afternoon, forcing me into a second trip to Target for an umbrella. Pictures of a ravaged Florida are pouring through Twitter and Instagram, as well as urgent pleas from Charleston officials for hunkered-in residents to evacuate as soon as possible. My prayers are heavy and hard right now. I worry for my city. Colin’s brother and sister-in-law evacuated Beaufort, SC and we all plan to stay up late tonight to keep an eye on the news as Matthew inches closer to our homes. I stocked up on Cool Ranch Doritos, kettle chips, Twizzlers and wine for our watch group.
Matthew still lingers 200 miles from Charleston, but beaches have already wilted to rising ocean waters and Berkeley Electric began de-energizing substations on Kiawah and Seabrook Islands in anticipation of storm surge damage. Remaining residents report incidents of inquisitive strangers and looters to boarded-up homes. My town of James Island just received notice of a curfew in effect from midnight until 6:00 a.m.
It’s unnerving to wonder what we’ll all return to when Matthew passes. For now, I give all the thanks for friends with open arms and local coffee bars with fierce brews and free wifi. Spartanburg, you’re a sweet refuge. Charleston, keeping you close.