I’m nearly nine. Almost grown-up… in three weeks, anyway. So, seeing it’s still ‘almost’, then maybe—just maybe—it’s still OK to be a little girl when I’m frightened? Like right now? It’s still dark. Middle of the night, I’d reckon. I’m sitting on the side of Mum’s bed for some reason. She must have lifted me out of my bed—or maybe Dad did? Maybe I woke some, but can’t really remember.
But now I am awake (although still ‘Blinky Bill’ fashion) and Mum already has me in my dressing gown and she’s dragging on my slippers. She’s doing it all in a great hurry, and while I’m trying to get my tongue into talk-mode I understand… well-ll a bit. Uhrr… sort of. No I don’t. It’s thunder rolling around, isn’t it? But the bed is shaking. I jerk my head around over my shoulder to see if it’s Dad bouncing the bed to make me laugh. But he’s not there.
Much later, all is perfectly clear. We had an earthquake. Mum was woken by dogs barking all over the neighbourhood, and roosters crowing although it was still dark. Somehow, these creatures apparently know before a major weather or Earth event happens (and I’m thinking how dogs know about approaching thunderstorms and lightning and will seek shelter and to hide themselves, well in advance of we humans hearing anything. Somehow, Mum understood something was wrong—or about to be! And even before the first tremor began, she was getting me warm and safe. My siblings were all in their twenties at this time, so some loud shouts were enough to rouse them. Her plan was to get us first into a series of doorways and then outside. Her belief was this was the safest avenue to take. Pretty good thinking actually.
For now, we’re still hearing the terrifying sound of the earth and its buildings groaning and writhing as if in pain. And the adults cannot imagine how far this one will go. All seems worse in the dark that is now even darker, more frightening, since the power went out.
But wait! I’m not nearly nine anymore. I’m 75 now, and suddenly wide awake. Is this another earthquake, when I’m in the house alone, hubby in hospital? Please NO! As I sit up, ready to leap from bed—(yes, think I still could, in an emergency like this)—my beautiful little cat, Missy, sails by in a gi-normous leap, and immediately all is clear. The tremor was her sharing the corner of my pillow, sleeping against my head and PURRING full bore with happiness to have me home again.
(Heck! I was only away for 30+ hours, but I suppose… when you don’t wear a watch!)