Do you remember the Northridge Earthquake?
I do. It was 22 years ago last night. I lost everything. My home came crumbling down around me, the building next to mine ignited into flames, the building on the other side of mine was half gone, rubble piled two stories high.
I remember having to break down the neighbors door because the ceiling collapsed trapping them inside their apartment. I recall with distinct clarity the smell of gas punching my face as I ran down the emergency steps from the third to the second floor and the cold water rising up to greet me in my only escape route. (we had a water main and gas main break)
I know what the grinding inconceivable sound of pissed off earth is like. After being tossed from my bed naked, I clung to a door frame and searched for something to wear before fleeing. I found a striped bathrobe. After escaping the building I was trapped outside. My absolute weakness and mercy to nature ovewhelmend me.
I sat down on the concrete sidewalk and saw the complete devastation of the world around me. This was a time before cell phones. I watched as a woman ran out of her apartment holding a small infant, searching for her car so she could keep the baby safe there, but her car was stolen. Someone tried to warm me by rubbing my legs and said, “You really need to shave.”
It was 4:31 AM and by the time dawn broke everyone around me had nothing. If it wasn’t for the kindness of a friend of a friend I would have spent the day on the street in my bathrobe. But they came looking for me. They brought me to their grandma’s house and gave me food and clothes and shelter for days.
I don’t know what happened to those angels, I don’t know where they are any more. But I do know this. Several of my friends are dealing with great big heaps of life. The kind of shit that isn’t my story to tell and I want to let them know I hope to be that quiet angel that lifts their spirits. I want them to know no matter how terrible and painful it is, it’ll be less painful soon. And it’s gonna be hard, and crap and you’re gonna get mad and sad and hate things for a while but you are strong and you will survive.