It’s been a while…
Sorting through letters and documents, I just came across a couple of personal items, some made me smile, one made me pause. I’m not sure when I wrote it, but it must have been my attempt to record what happened on the night of 2nd May 2008 – the night Burma was hit by Cyclone Nargis and 140,000 people lost their lives.
This is what I wrote:
Nobody could have predicted what would happen during the dark hours between May 2nd and 3rd 2008.
(Sleep was impossible.)
I had been off work for 3 days with an unexplainable headache and had put it down to changes in pressure or something. Most of us knew there was a cyclone on its way but like many things, had thought it would be an anticlimax.
The evening of Friday 2nd May, Rayna came up to Matt’s room to watch Music & Lyrics, a light-hearted and predictable romantic comedy, one of our favourites. Because we were engrossed in the film, I don’t remember what time it started raining, but I remember flashes of lightning, dulled by the net curtains.
After the film, in an upbeat mood, we pottered onto the balcony to see if there was any sign of the ‘cyclone’ we’d been warned about. It was raining, but not heavily. More of an English drizzle than a Burmese storm.
I stood at the edge of the balcony, carefully side-stepping the thorny, anonymous plant in the plant box, and stretched my arms out to feel the cool misty rain on my skin. It was early in the season and had only rained a couple of times, so the novelty of water was still very much alive.
I remember somebody (Rayna? Me?) commenting that the ‘cyclone’ was probably a big fuss over nothing, although my doctor had predicted the storm wouldn’t lose much speed when it hit the Burmese coastline, because of the low-lying delta region.
In all honesty, we didn’t really know how this infamous storm would pan out. Nobody did. So we said goodnight to Rayna and went to bed.
We awoke just two hours later in a very different situation.