The girl was lying on the couch, tired from her early morning wake up and a busy morning at preschool. Robert Munsch stories were playing on the computer. I figured it was safe to sneak upstairs and use the bathroom without her hollering for me at the top of her lungs. As she sometimes likes to do when I am out of her sight.
Almost at the bottom of the staircase, I stopped when I heard a rumble. A deep rumble. I lifted up my head to look out the window of the front door. I expected to see the biggest semi truck ever in existence driving down my small one way street. Instead, I felt the ground begin to shake. It didn't stop.
It took me longer then you might expect to realize that what I was feeling was an earthquake. I had never experienced an earthquake before. I would rather not experience it again.
As the floor shook beneath my feet and the walls seem to move and bend in front of my eyes, I ran quickly to the back of the house and grabbed the girl up in my arms. What's happening she asked. It's an earthquake I said, hearing the panic in my voice. With her arms wrapped around my neck we sprinted up the stairs. At the landing I could finally hear the boy's cries over the sounds of the earth moving.
The earthquake had woken him up from his nap and he now sat upright in his bed. His arms reached for me and mine reached for him. Wrapped around me I carried him and his sister back down the stairs. For a moment I didn't know what to do with them. Do we hide in the basement? No, I think that is for a tornado. Under a table? Maybe. Then all I wanted, and I wanted it intensely, was to be out of the house. With them.
I ran out the door in my bare feet with the children clutched to me. And then I didn't know what to do next.
From my porch I saw a neighbor. I felt myself breath for the first time. Knowing that we weren't alone. That we were okay. But I kept shaking. The ground finally stopped moving but I kept shaking for another ten minutes. Scared about what could have, even if it didn't, happen.
I fretted and fluttered around the kids as they sat beside me on the porch stairs before deciding to move them to the park. Wide open spaces I thought, that will be safer if more is coming.
Nothing more did come. Finally the cell phone picked up reception and I spoke to the husband at work. Life went on as normal around me. The kids chased their friends, the guys played basketball on the court, cyclists passed by. Inside I still shook.