An Insignificant 7.1 Incident

11 Feb


photo: kirainet.com

The last thing I remember was drifting out to Planet of the Apes on the telly. I had been left alone in the flat for the evening. When I woke up, I was sleeping in my father’s eyes. It was dark everywhere. He picked up the lump of covers thinking it was me. The building swayed and sighed. We stood in the door frame out in the hallway where we usually kept our coats on hooks. The wooden wardrobe was sneaking out into the ante-room. Someone busted through the front door and asked if we were all right. And would we get moving before the edifice collapsed. A woman was trapped in the elevator screaming and banging on the doors. No one could get to her. The quake was still going. We were dancing with the walls, crumbling. We headed down the stairs like a disoriented herd of cows in line at the abattoir. There was still a smell of garlic in the hallway, around the 5th floor, from someone’s supper. It was mixed with dust and gas and death and the end of winter. Outside, we stepped into a cloud of white concrete. The building next to ours had collapsed and I could hear humanity trapped under tons of bricks and mortar. It was an elemental, unconscious moaning from underneath the rubble–the kind the body exhales in one last gasp for relevance just before it dies. I stood with my mum and dad in the middle of the cold street, dazed. A man came out of the whiteness and gave my mum his hat, so she could step and stand in it. We were all barefoot. It was the fourth day of March.

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