"what's that screaming? don't you hear that screaming?"
i came out of the kitchen and into living room 1 to figure out what he was talking about. it's rather unusual for brian to hear anything that i don't hear first. it took me a moment to parse the sounds out from baby einstein, but then i heard it as brian threw open the front door and ran down the stairs to the courtyard. before i'd even been able to cross the room to the window, i was already chanting:
"oh my god oh my god oh my god"
i still couldn't hear the words that were being yelled, but by the way they were being yelled, we both thought someone had to be getting stabbed or shot. then i made it to the window and wiped away the condensation on the glass. for a second, i thought and hoped that i just hadn't wiped it away enough. i was beginning to process that there was smoke outside and a lot of it. seconds later, brian had run back up the stairs and ended my denial by telling me that we had to get out NOW. the person outside had been yelling:
"get the fuck out! get the fuck out!"
not 75 feet away from our condo, another was engulfed in flames.
i was in shock.
i constantly hear about apartment communities going up in flames in dallas. but holy shit, it doesn't happen to your apartment community. so i kept saying:
"this isn't happening. this isn't happening."
my mind was in slow motion, but we finally started piecing together that we had a baby and five cats to get out of there. we figured out that they would have to go to the cars. i had picked the baby up, but put him back down to collect the feline of my brood. ttyki was easy enough and i got her into the camry after pulling my jacket on over my pajamas. i was terrified of wrangling oskar (see episode where i almost went insane trying to drag oskar out from under the bed when the fire alarm went off in my loft building over a year ago). he's a literal fraidy cat. his fear manifests physically and he's damn strong. i foolishly thought maybe i could carry him out, but that didn't last long. i pulled brian's pillowcase off the pillow and cornered oskar in the bathroom. i scooped him in, but he wiggled out again and ran. brian helped me get him in a second time. oskar could definitely sense my fear and he proceeded to pee through the pillowcase as i stood just outside the glass door not quite knowing what to do. i put him in the camry.
brian was getting his cats together and had alread put oliver in his seat and in the car. the only other thing i had the presence of mind to grab was the diaper bag. it didn't contain any diapers, but it did have my credit cards. i thought about all the photos that would burn.
i had knocked on helen's door en route, but was too anxious to gather cats to wait for her to answer. brian told her son what was going on. i turned off the kitchen light, the tv, and the dvd player. i wasn't sure why that seemed like a good idea. brian later told me he had blown out the candles. i think he was afraid of getting into trouble with the firemen.
as soon as i had gotten oskar in the car, i walked through the breezeway to the courtyard and noticed the smoke had lessened considerably. many residents were milling about and one lady told me the fire was out and they were checking the attic. i muttered something about our five cats and a baby and she threw an arm around me.
i've been told no one was hurt. the brick has been torn away from the room which has been gutted. the firemen threw a lot of debris through the hole. i can't tell if more than one unit was destroyed. i feel horrible for whomever was living there. i'm horrified that was almost us.
i asked brian to put the batteries in the two smoke detectors we finally remembered to purchase yesterday, even though they aren't actually mounted yet. our unit came with none. it did come with helen and her unwieldy cooking and i can't believe it's taken us this long to get some. it's even more frightening that a little over a week ago, i flipped on the heater and began to smell fumes as wires began shorting out and melting. i've made a vow to give up candles and electricity. you can probably guess by the fact that i'm posting just how well that is going.
i called my mommy expecting her to secretly flip out. she's never sounded more calm. i wondered if she had switched to smoking pot.
we walked across the yard to let oliver visit joann hoping she might have more information. it seemed almost cruel to see someone grilling dinner on their patio.