About 3 am this morning my daughters friend angelicas room caught fire. She is our next door neighbor. Myself and the kids were sound asleep. Thank God my husband often stayed up at night watching television. He was in the bathroom when he first noticed some loud noises next door. We live in an apartment complex. They are not the best developed homes at that; but as you well know if you are living in an apartment what happens in one unit is essentially happening in the next. It’s a domino effect.
While he was in the bathroom he noticed yellow and red lights flaring from the next home so he got curious. The smoke barreled simultaneously as he peered out the upstairs window, dangling from the top of the tubs edge. It was a blur of events after the he realized that we were in danger.
Quickly he grabbed for the children and alerted others in the home. I was told it was like he flew down the stairs, holding baby Jordan and Jeffrey Jr. like footballs and Jazzy baby on his back. He tried to wake me several times calling out my name. I had taken at least 6 of my prescribed drugs that night. I was so sick I could hardly hold my head up. Not to mention, each medication had a side effect of drowsiness.
The smoke was filling our home fast. The smolder had begun to filter the room quite heavily. We left our window open during the night to let some fresh air circulate in the room. It was a nice cool breeze out, it helped to calm my nerves and put me to sleep.
The smoke had caught site of my diseased lungs and had latched onto them like the plague. Still, I slept on, drifting away with life’s current. I felt the angels lifting me. Perhaps I would be taken before I could feel the burn of the engulfing flames.
A head count was taken outside, in the apartment courtyard just in front of our apartment. Neighboring family’s gathered into the quad and watched as the bright lights from the flaming window lit up the nights sky. All heads were accounted for but my own.
Frightened and without a second thought my husband whisked into the smoke filled home and grabbed me up from our bed and carried me to safety. He had my purse and meds in one arm, shoes and sweats in the other. I was wrapped in my robe and laid out on the grass in the middle of the courtyard.
The old familiar smell of defeat and peace came over me. I was in and out of consciousness as I awoke from smelling salt. An oxygen mask was then applied to my face in hopes of getting air to my lungs. It stung just as it did when the tubes were taken from my body. It hurt to swallow and my chest hurt when I breathed in.
Writing this addition to my latest works is a miracle. My husband saved my life. I can still smell smoke and as I tell this short story the housing is placing boards on the window of the house next door. As I came too around 5 this morning I had no idea where I was. I was frantic. Hysterical because I couldn’t see my children at first sight, and I had no idea where my husband was. Sitting up and throwing off my mask and tubing my head began to pound. It was excruciatingly painful to open my eyes.
My vision was blurry as I searched the spectators for my children. It was then that I saw my guardian angel, seated not far from the fire fighters with his head cradling in his large hands. He was sobbing softly filled with such overwhelming emotion that it had no other choice but to be released. Stumbling to gain my composure I stood and walked with a slight hunch, until I could straighten my stance. I touched his shoulder gently. He looked up through his tear felt eyes and starred for a few moments. Once he could register that it was I standing in front of him living and breathing, he stood up without hesitation and took me into his arms. We wept together and thanked God that he had been awake during this hour of night. The children were safely seated with their grandmother at the end of the courtyard and the families next door to the apartment had all made it out safe and sound.
I stood for the next 2 hours as they battled the remaining flames and cleared the smoke from the building. I could hardly speak. I was still in shock. My husband had saved my life and the lives of our children. He thought nothing of his own life and put ours in place of his own. There were so many thoughts afloat in my mind.
Residents stopped to ask if I was ok or in need of anything, but I couldn’t respond. I could hear them speaking but I couldn’t form the words to voice. I thought about the What if’s in the situation. What if my husband had decided to go to sleep early last night. He is a sound sleeper. I am the one usually alert, but since I had taken so much medication I was down for the count myself. The neighbors hadn’t bothered to knock on our door and alert us of the situation. They were consumed with the fear of the burning flames and busy trying to contain the fire. If my husband hadn’t gone to the rest room and noticed the lights outside the window, we may have lost not only our worldly possessions but our lives.
I also thought about how unimportant some of the situations were I had presently stressed about. Nothing seemed to matter but the safety of my loved ones.
Hubby came to my rescue. He is my knight and shining armor. If I had any doubts about why we were together it had dissipated in that very moment. I could see the stars in his eyes. We were safe and sound and safe in his arms is often where I seek comfort. He is my earthly protector, lover, and best friend.
Walking around the room our bedroom, I look at all the memories myself, husband, and children have shared. Each framed and hung on the wall with care. My deceased Fathers last piece of artwork hung on the wall without harm. The smoke seemed to hide just under all of my possessions as if God blew it past and into the upstairs hall. I cried silently, unable to hold in my gratefulness. My life and the life of my Family was spared. My God and Husband were my hero’s.
Two hours had gone by with my simply sitting in my bedroom looking around. My boys fast asleep, and my daughter off to school. It was as if nothing had happened business as usual.
Except there was a change that came over me in those moments when I faced the possible loss of my family. The stress that had once plagued my mind over material needs and wants had someone diminished.
Prioritizing my life was on my agenda for the remainder of the day, and thanking God for the many blessings that he had bestowed upon us.