I’ll Be On top
By Trudy A. Martinez
Half asleep my eyes opened. A rolling motion startled and awoke me. Looking at the clock, I noted the time: 4:35 A. M. The room was swaying, rolling. My imagination ran wild, thinking, imagining, wondering if the second floor would fall upon the first. A voice inside me rang out, “Get up! Get in a door way!”
Common sense told me, “Stay where you are.” I knew my knees were weak and I would fall before I made it to a doorway even if I tried. If this was the big one, prayers were my only avenue of escape. I stayed put. An eternity seemed to pass. When in actuality, only a few seconds had gone by.
I looked around, stopping when Kit’s eyes met mine. Her expression said, “Why are you shaking the bed?” Usually in the morning when I wanted to sleep, she woke me. Now this little cat was thinking, I was the perpetrator.
“I am not doing it.” I assured her in a calming tone.
The rolling motion continued, building momentum. My inner voice regurgitated and reasoned, “You’re better off where you are.”
I remembered experiencing such a long rolling earthquake once before. Then I was in a compromising position: balancing myself, stark naked, on the edge of my whirlpool spa in a glass house, a glass enclosed patio. Another convinced me if I went in naked no one would see me, struggling with a wet bathing suit each time was not only unnecessary but also ridiculous.
Of course, who could have known an earthquake would hit just at the moment I straddled the edge of the whirlpool, naked, with one leg in and one leg out. When the quake hit, I was questioning my decision, balancing on the edge of the spa. My imagination ran wild, seeing myself at the bottom of the pool of water naked and dead. How embarrassing to be found in such a state I had thought.
Now here I was, telling myself, “You’re better off where you are.” Reasoning: If the roof fell, 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 moved? Stay where you are–stay, stay.”
The movement receded and then, the earthquake stopped almost as abruptly as it had begun. Only 45 seconds had elapsed but yet, an eternity seemed to pass, nothing had fallen, not even me.
Kit stood, stretched, and then lying back down, dug her head into the soft comforter before she again closed her eyes. It didn’t even phase her. How could she go back to sleep? Wasn’t the earthquake a wake-up call from Heaven? It wasn’t me as she thought.
I shook the bed, unable to resist the temptation to show her the difference. One eye opened, quickly closing when she saw it was only me.