I am sitting alone in the empty room, listening to the hum of the air vents above; Each minute noise amplified like I was in a Fresnel lens. Besides a few bags hugging the right corner of the wall, the bedroom is devoid of objects. I had arrived early at my new apartment, whom I am sharing with my girlfriend. I came with the contents of the furniture she is bringing from Oklahoma, which, until she arrives, goes nowhere. I slept in a small allotted space on the carpet, outfitted with a striped pillow and a pink, spare blanket, none of which was remotely enough to help me sleep.
The humidity of the South has driven me inside; my body has not yet acclimated to the wall of heat that greeted me upon exiting my car. Moving from business to business, I give myself excuses to inject myself into society. I admit that I forgot how beautiful and virid the city of Savannah is. Canopies of twisting branches of old oak layered in insect-covered Spanish moss dangle like loose veins over a plethora of carefully manicured squares. Being back in city stirs that university-related anxiety I attempted to bury throughout the summer, though I have ample time before the quarter starts. August was no more than a blink. In all sincerity, learning about Aaron “Gus” Wilson and his preening decoy mallards at a lighthouse nearby was an actual highlight. Exhilarating.
Under the guise of reading, I frequent cafés to people watch and listen to conversations. The other day, I overheard an acting professor speaking of his students with such contempt; touting his superior skills to provoke the inner talent of some students. “Made a comedian into a comic genius… a student’s talent is embodied in her suffering–probably from Russian influence.” As he stood by the bubbler, he spoke to an associate. The jaw upon his angular face opened and closed noisily as he spoke; his narrow eyes and serious complexion exuded an unempathetic demeanor. I left shortly thereafter.
Being in Savannah by myself imbues a similar sensation to traveling alone. When I come across anything of interest in my day to day routine, it clusters my mind with observations that demand to become visually concrete. Each minute that passes without making these thoughts physical works against the experience. The fear of forgetting is very real in this instance. Photography and writing have proven to be that superficial validation I need; giving my opinions a degree of verisimilitude. Knowing someone could read and witness my experiences through a screen has become quite therapeutic. Keeping a journal is the equivalent of mental micturition after ignoring the need for an unhealthy amount of time.
My girlfriend finally arrived, as did news that Dorian was following suit–a hurricane far exceeding the category 5 status at a staggering 185 MPH (297 KPH). A mandatory evacuation was looming and so non-perishable food preparations for the storm began. While perusing the isles at the nearby Dollar Tree and Kroger, we listened to the lyrical beeps from the register and the slaps and squeaks from adolescent sneakers. The crowds at the stores were thickening the closer the storm arrived. Around 11 pm, the city issued a mandatory evacuation. To beat the traffic, we left for Milton, Georgia, thirty minutes north of Atlanta–a four-hour drive. For the remainder of the month, we stayed there while the Dorian battered the East Coast.