Monday, August 25, 2014

Quakers (edited)

(Art that makes sense)

It was my first. 

I knew what it was with an immediacy, coming out of a deep sleep, that is nearly impossible to describe.

I bolted. 

I was sleeping in the downstairs bedroom, Rhys and Rachel were upstairs. 

To say that a primal fear takes over is, again, nearly impossible to give an accurate accounting.

I was prepared to chuck virgins into volcanoes, and was regretful for not having thrown many more in the past.

The gods were angry, very angry in the dark.

It was as if two earthly forces had come together, lightning without light and a hurricane without wind. It seemed as if rocks were flying.

I went from a deep sleep to sprinting through the house and up the stairs, literally, in split-seconds. 

As I ran across the living room floor I could feel the floor shifting underneath my feet, each step was slightly "off" from where it should have landed, as if the floor was surging and tilting. It was surging and tilting. 

With each foot that remained temporarily planted I could also detect a shifting to-and-fro. 

The stairs were no easier, though I bounded them in maybe three steps, maybe two.

I don't even remember breaking through the baby gate. We found it downstairs, later. 

I hadn't yet known that the power was off, all was in darkness anyway. The sound of breaking glass everywhere was a shrill and terrible reminder of what was happening. 

Only human screams on top of it could have possibly made it worse, or so I thought.

I hit Rhys's room first. I saw Rachel coming down the hallway from her room.

When I say I booked, I mean it.

There was silence in his room, all that I could think of was the horror of the glass near his bed having already shattered, rendering him, well... as I suggested, only silence can be worse than screaming.

I searched the bed with my hands and found him, picked him up to me as he came to wakefulness. 

His little voice saying, "Daddy" was all I needed. I turned for the shaking door.

I don't remember Rachel pulling us into the doorframe and keeping us there for a time, but that is where we ended up. Only a few seconds and then we all three headed downstairs in the trembling darkness.

The main shocks seemed over, or lessening, but the house was still rattling. There was no way to know what glass had broken, what glass still remained to fall from above. 

I shielded Rhys as best as I could and headed for the front door. 

Once out, the tremors were mostly over. 

It could not have lasted more than 15 seconds.


That it gives no warning is perhaps what produces the psychic tremors afterwards. That, and the thought of all that could go wrong, all that could have gone wrong. Over and over. 

I was edgy and nervous all day, had a difficult time relaxing, talking. 

I wanted to go somewhere, to do something, to remind myself of something; mobility, life, the solidness of the earth beneath me.

I could not relax later in the day, either. My roommate and her boyfriend invited me out of my room for dinner. We sat and chatted about it all, and laughed, but also we did not laugh, we acknowledged the gravity of the thing, the possible graveness of it. Its proximity in terms of miles, and presence in its immediate sense. 

There is an odd inner-sensation that resembles the sound and feeling of glass breaking. A shrillness that will not settle quickly, or easily. There was the sense for me of shards still lingering, pieces of danger still falling, shaking. 

I awoke many times in the night, watched dumb shows on television, thinking about the sudden power of the earth heaving and rolling beneath us. 

It seemed as if I could not possibly get any closer, any safer than where I was, what I was doing, and that that was not good enough. 

Walls cease to seem as walls.

I had a strange desire to get closer to the earth, though I am going to spend the rest of eternity there, I still wished to sense its solidness under me, long after it was over.

Under all of me, unmoving. Not breathing.


Later in the day Rachel asked Rhys if he remembered anything from the earthquake.

I remember daddy woke me up and the stars were shaking.