Magazine

From the September 2012 magazine.

September 2012: Swept Away

Reeling from a tragic flood, a woman faces the liquid that later drowned her guilt

On February 6, 1996, my boyfriend and I were trying to get home to our dogs during one of the worst floods in Oregon’s history. I had insisted we go to town that day, ostensibly to help people save their homes, but truly just wanting to go to the bar and drink. I got my way, and after spending hours drinking at the local tavern, we were faced with rising water and few options of a safe route home. A fellow drinker told us there was an outer road near the highway that was passable. It was getting dark by the time we left the bar, and we soon found ourselves stranded after our engine stalled in rising water.

We sat on top of the car for a while and realized we would probably drown or freeze to death if we stayed where we were, so we decided to walk all the way down to the freeway about a mile away. About half way there, we were in neck-deep water and it was rushing hard around us. We were going to die, so I suggested that we try to make it to the freeway. I squeezed Doug’s hand and said, “You know I love you, right?” He said, “You do?” I nodded. “I love you, too,” he added.

-- Kim L.

Soldotna, Alaska

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