Saturday, December 5, 2020

No Time to Wallow in the Mire

Hope's fire 

My pal called me last night at 5:30am in what sounded like a very crowded, noise stricken, city street.  We were in a big storm so the wind and rains must have made her trials compounded.  I could barely make out her words but understood enough to know she was in a dire emergency.  Buildings were on fire and she apparently had to evacuate.  It wasn't clear if it was her building. I could only make out that she was on the corner waiting to understand the extent.  Later she was down the street at a shelter on Avenue B.  The fire department must have moved the evacuees to dry ground.  I understood later why she chose not to come straight to my apartment, as I suggested.  She needed to understand if her building was safe and if she would be allowed to reenter.  Can you imagine it?  The beautiful church just two or three doors down entirely went up in flames as did the corner building, where it most likely started.  What a harrowing experience.  I could only imagine the shock of firemen pounding on her door, waking in such a brutal way, seconds to gather your essentials meaning phone, wallet and shoes.  As it is, getting a phone call in the middle of the night is never easy and within seconds, your mind goes to the worst scenarios.  Not to mention a sleepy mind is so slow in comprehending anything.  Within seconds we were both standing in the living room, P in my ear saying who is it, what's the matter, what's going on and I was only able to spit out short spurts, It's Hope. There's a fire. She's on the street.  I heard him say, tell her to come here, before muttering, What time is it? and drifting off. 

The phone laying near my ear gave updates periodically and finally at around 9am she was able to reenter her building, deemed unharmed.   I drifted in and out of sleep in between texts and wrestled with thoughts of guilt and gratitude that I was safe in my warm bed when my bud was out there in the middle of the night not knowing if she would lose all her possessions, during a major fire, in a Pandemic, in a Nor'Easter, in this travesty we call 2020.  What a prophetic sounding ordeal.  It could have changed her entire life. But in the end, thank God, she was spared and this morning all I can feel is deep gratitude and joy that she wasn't hurt and didn't suffer loss.  A light breakfast of a half of a half of a pizza slice and one highly seasoned poached egg on top served as a celebrational course.  

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