Posted on June 18, 2006
By Trudy A. Martinez
Half asleep my eyes open. A rolling motion startles and awakes me. Looking at the clock, I note the time: 4:35 A. M. (Or there about; I always set it ahead of the actual time). The room is swaying, rolling. My imagination runs wild, thinking, imagining, wondering if the second floor will fall upon the first. A voice inside me rings out: “Get up! Get in a door way!”
Common sense tells me, “Stay where you are.” I know my knees are weak and I will fall before I make it to a doorway even if I try. If this is the big one, prayers are my only avenue of escape. I stay put. An eternity seems to pass. When in actuality, only a few seconds go by.
I look around, stopping when Kit’s eyes meet mine. Her expression says, “Why are you shaking the bed?” Usually in the morning when I want to sleep, she wakes me. Now this little cat is thinks, I am the perpetrator.
“I am not doing it.” I assure her in a calming tone.
The rolling motion continues, building momentum. My inner voice regurgitates and reasons: “You’re better off where you are.”
I remember experiencing such a long rolling earthquake once before. Then in a compromising position, I am balancing myself (stark naked) on the edge of my whirlpool spa in a glass house, a glass enclosed patio. I let another convince me if I go in naked no one will see me; she assures me struggling with a wet bathing suit each time I go in is not only unnecessary but also ridiculous.
Of course, who knew an earthquake would hit just at the moment I straddle the edge of the whirlpool, naked, with one leg in and one leg out. I question my decision, after the fact, when the earthquake hit as I balance myself on the edge of the spa. My imagination runs wild. I see myself at the bottom of the pool of water naked. Dead. “How embarrassing to be found in such a state,” I think.
Now here I am again, telling myself, “You’re better off where you are.” Reasoning: If the roof falls, the headboard and the footboard will stop it. If you go down stairs, the second story will fall on you–you’ll be crushed, mashed, trapped on bottom. If you stay where you are, you’ll be on top of the rubble, not on bottom. Besides, there is a soft mattress under you, a blanket over you, and it’s warm. What would it be like if you move? “Stay where you are–stay, stay.”
The movement recedes and then, the quake stops almost as abruptly as it began. Only 45 seconds elapses but yet, an eternity seems to pass, nothing fell, not even me.
Kit stands, stretches, and then lies back down, digs her head into the soft comforter before she again closes her eyes. It didn’t even faze her. How can she go back to sleep? Wasn’t the earthquake a wake-up call from Heaven? It wasn’t me as she thought.
I shake the bed, unable to resist the temptation to show her the difference. One eye opens, and then quickly closing once she sees it is only me.
Next time. Next time, we may not be as fortunate.