As I shuttled between my cube and a colleague’s cube at work trying to mentor him, I saw my IM blinking. It was a person in my office who also lived in the community I did. “I am working from home…” he typed. Sure it was going to a request for some favor, I had almost started typing I was with another person and can help out after 3:00 PM when I saw what he typed next. “S left for work and saw smoke from the court on which your home is…” My heart was in my throat. For one instant my mind ran through all the possibilities of what could have caused a fire. Images of my stove, my iron box, oven flitted past. Nope. I woke late and did not have time to go near the kitchen. In a state of controlled panic, I dialled K’s number. Check with our neighbors I said. K took over and I went back to work. A few minutes later the details were out. It was one four or five homes down from ours. The fire brigade was out in full force said our neighbor.
My mind went blank. I tried to remember something. Anything of the home or its inhabitants and realized I had no idea who lived there. Vague impressions of people a couple parking and heading into their home is all I had. I googled and found this short mention in our local news page.
“Emergency crews have been called to a reported house fire this afternoon.
Initial reports indicate a male victim with extensive burns. A medical helicopter has been called to the scene.”
Somebody was hurt. I had no idea who. I have lived there for a while now. I feel shamed and upset. And shocked. How does one handle it if you go to work one morning and come back to what used to be your home? The house will be replaced, insurance will take care of part of the costs yet, what about the intangibles? The memories you create. The sense of security? I am probably overreacting because it has hit too close to home. Literally.
Every time I settle into a gentle rocking rhythm in life something comes along to give me a jolt and awaken me to the possibility that the peace is an illusion.