Sunday, June 29, 2008

Despondent Boy

For a few days there we had some real excitement. But now things have died down and we're back to normal. And one day is just the same as others.

I felt like we were at a peak experience there for a while, when Grandma and I thought the terrorists were coming to get us. We weren't thoroughly prepared -- I went into all that -- but the preparations were good enough, let's say, to survive a quick strike. Such as if the terrorists had taken out most of the neighborhood, including our house, and had moved on. We would have been OK in the cellar and would have been able to come up to the surface after everything died down to live another day.

I can see myself, really, in the aftermath of something terrible. Let's just say the house was destroyed. And the half-acre was littered with our possessions. I would be sheltering Grandma through most of the explosions. Then when it all died down I would tell her to be patient, that we must not go out too soon, no matter how curious we naturally would be. Then, perhaps in the dead of night, when there was not a creature stirring, and no sound, I would get my flashlight--

Here's where it gets good. Because then I would still be very cautious, even with the flashlight. My first hope would be that I was able to see without it. Such as if it were a moonlit night or a car was driving by with its lights on. I would attempt to see what there was to see. And I've always been real good at moving -- like a ninja -- without making a lot of noise. (Now, if the floor is naturally creaky, of course I have trouble with that -- who wouldn't? But for the most part, you don't know I'm coming and you don't know I was there until I'm gone!)

So, I would be outside the house. Perhaps all that is left is just the cellar door under a hundred pounds of debris. Grandma is safely behind in her chair. I lift the debris and climb out. I can picture myself, a very grim look of determination playing across my face, hoping it is a moonlit night that my heroic features might be accentuated for posterity.

Moving in my silent way -- as best as can be managed, with no creaky floors in sight -- I see the possessions of a more peaceful day scattered and blowing in the wind. Over there against the fence, pages flapping, is a TV Guide, but there's no TV.

In the distance I can hear the tanks rolling for the city. I'm able to run -- like 40 mph -- over to the interstate. I get there and see them, and can tell by their markings that they're ours. Yet there's no way they would know me. They'd likely take me for a hostile character. So I give them a silent salute. I mouth a silent prayer of godspeed -- the wind takes it and makes it its own.

Back in the bunker, I report to Grandma all the many images I have seen and declare how we will be OK. I'm rocking her in my arms for comfort. Still, I'm wondering to myself how exactly we really will ever manage. The house is completely gone. Only the outhouse is still standing. But you can't live there, of course -- not unless you added on a couple rooms.

Getting back to normal is sort of depressing. But, hey, we do still have the house.

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