Indeed, nothing like a fire alarm to wake you at 1:30. I was annoyed; I thought it was Husband's alarm, or maybe his phone, and he wasn't taking care of it, but as I finally pulled myself from bed, made it down the stairs, realized the first floor was filled with smoke, the sleep-fog dissipated. Indeed, we had a fire in the house, our dining room hazy. I quickly put it out, let the dogs outside (all that smoke!) and roused Husband, who was still sleeping through the blare of the alarm. Poor guy was so confused, and I sent him back upstairs as soon as he reached his gangly arm up and pulled the battery.
Scary thing: the batteries died a while back, and the alarm was sitting on our counter for about a month before we replaced it. This is our only alarm in the house, aside from the one in the basement, which we'd never hear, I'm sure.
The fire itself: a candle Angie made us for our anniversary many years back, on a tall podium-type candle holder. The whole top was ablaze--I could see the flickering in the shadows as I made my way downstairs.
Something good: I didn't panic--after I realized it was a fire and before I saw it--the fire itself wasn't enough to be frightening, but the idea of it was planted before I saw it. I think we always wonder how we would respond in situations like this--how we respond to loss, to accidents, to moments when we need to react properly.
There are curls of black plastic settled onto everything on the first floor. It looks like a design in our dark wood tabletops, a speckled addition to magazines, books, pillows. Libby's feet are blackened from walking around downstairs. I blow my nose and get black soot.
I am relieved that I woke up, that all is OK, that the fire didn't reach the table, or worse--catch a book or two. For those of you who have seen it, the dining room is also my library, or at least, the main branch of the library. It's a tinderhouse there--how easily it could have all gone up.
life, week 16
14 hours ago