Do you think there ever comes a time to stop chasing your dream, why?
CW: This short story is purely a work of fiction, inspired in large part by the dangerous and deadly hurricane that just devastated the Bahamas.
Vera glares at me through puffy eyes from across the plot. The cemetery is deafeningly silent in spite of the hushed murmurs of the mourners gathered to pay their respects. The sun shines down on the open grave, as if mocking me for my hubris. Here, there are no reminders of the storm that had taken Justin from us. The storm had been thousands of miles away, after all.
Chasing storms had been my dream since I was a kid. Other kids watched Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. My TV was always tuned to The Weather Channel. I loved seeing the up-to-the-minute forecasts and following the meteorological trends along with the weather people. Storm Stories was a particular favorite. I wanted to be just like the storm chasers.
Vera had supported my dream, even though I knew she worried every time I flew off to the east coast for a hurricane or the plains for a tornado or the north for a blizzard. She never came with me, of course. She liked it better where the sun always shines and extreme weather events are rare.
But her brother grew increasingly vocal about joining me on a chase one day. Justin was her half-brother, from her father’s second marriage, and ten years younger than us. He had just finished his first year of college studying meteorology and he wanted to take a weather road trip before my wedding to Vera.
I thought we would get to share the dream, but it turned into a nightmare. I thought we had lucked out when the “Storm of the Century” began churning in the Atlantic Basin. I thought it was being overhyped. I thought we had been prepared. I thought we were high enough to be safe.
The storm didn’t care what I thought. It took Justin just the same as it took hundreds of others. My dream had gotten Justin killed. I don’t blame Vera for hating me. I just wish the sun wasn’t laughing at me for it.
Notes: When a dream causes harm to yourself or others, it’s probably best to give up on that dream. I got the idea in my head to write about a character who lost someone because of chasing their dream and I was reading about a storm chaser who was in the Bahamas for Hurricane Dorian. He was radio silent for a couple days and people feared the worst, but he made it through. Still, I got to wondering about “what if” and came up with the idea of the storm chaser dream costing a loved one’s life.
If your dreams are less dangerous (write a novel, see the world, act in a film, etc.), I don’t believe there’s ever a time to stop chasing them. It’s never too late to achieve your dreams! Just be sure to take care of yourself in pursuit of those dreams.
That does it for me tonight. Please keep the people of Abaco Island and Grand Bahama in your thoughts and prayers (if that’s your prerogative), and/or donate to relief funds if you can. I’ll see you tomorrow!