Our life shifted forever early in the afternoon of April twenty ninth, two thousand and ten. I woke up in my husbands arms surrounded by acrid, blinding smoke. I heard a roaring sound and the explosions of breaking glass. Somehow it all seemed to quiet to be what it seemed.
Panic only set in after my socks hit the cool soft grass of the lawn. I turned and saw my home, my only home, ablaze and emitting black smoke through broken windows into the still air.
I began to scream before I could think. It wasn’t happening. It simply couldn’t be. Not now, not here.
Blinding terror set in as I realized my neighbors might still be in their homes, and worse, there had been a house guest the night before. An unfamiliar car came to an abrupt stop on the road and a man and woman came tearing out the doors.
The strangers grabbed me and pulled me toward the curb. The woman put her arms around me and eased me to the ground. The man ran back toward the building.
It had to be a dream.
I was suddenly surrounded by paramedics and fire fighters. Some ran back to the building. Some came toward me. Nothing was real but when I looked down at my skin it seemed to be covered in black ash.
Everything blurred. I could not breath but I still heard screams. In a brief moment of lucidity I noticed that our guest’s truck was no longer parked in from of our home. She was gone. Not in the fire.
I was put on a stretcher. This had to be a dream.
If only it had been.