I should’ve seen it coming.
Falling down the stairs at 4.2 weeks pregnant with my last child meant exactly one thing: every time I tried to get treatment for it, the doctors ran out of the room, shaking a bottle of Tylenol in my general direction, because OMFG the PREGNANT LADY we can’t TREAT the PREGNANT LADY – THINK OF THE LAWSUITS IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG WITH THE BAY-BEE!
(the ironic thing is that there was STILL something wrong with the fetus that had been written in her genetic soup well before I hurt my foot).
By the time I was able to get treatment for my foot, it was well past the “we can do shit about it,” and “WTF were your MD’s thinking?” which means precisely one (okay, two) things: I can, upon occasion, pull Das Boot from the closet and tromp around in it when it’s particularly narfy, and I can generally tell you when the atmospheric pressure is changing.
(in my best yokel accent) I gots a trick foot, y’all!
So that’s why I say I should’ve seen it coming.
Which is why I hadn’t bothered taking any precautions. One minute, I was cuddling up my sweet daughter who’d been tearfully showing me her blister – which had popped – and the next minute, the room was practically pitch black. We’d not bothered to turn on any lights, because, well, it was 11AM and summer in Chicago, which meant it was balls hot with a side of armpit-level humidity.
“Mama,” she asked, her arms woven upward and snake-like, entangled with my own, “why’s it nighttime?”
“Storms a-coming, Baby Girl,” I told her as I kissed her curls. She nestled into me like a baby for a moment, her sleep-filled eyes betraying her as she tried desperately to stay awake.
The wind began to howl, as I moved into the kitchen to light some candles, should the power go out. I could hear my eldest screaming his frustration at me into his pillow – I had put my foot down to him going out in the storm; it was too dangerous. He seemed to think, which he often does these days, that I was full of the bullshit.
I paused a moment at the back doors, staring outside at the wind whipping past, the sky full of bits of trees that had been caught up in the strong winds. I looked down and happily realized that I’d managed to put my sparkly red Uggs – at least I’d wind up in Kansas (or was it NOT Kansas? I can never be sure) should the winds opt to take my home. The streets filled with water as I heard a distinct thunk as one of the trees went down nearby.
Shit, I thought, that Ass Tree with it’s Ass Boner is going to come down on top of the house. God, I hope I look glamorous at my funeral. Shit – I forgot to write down my weird funeral demands and have them notarized – I hope my Pranksters will tell anyone who brings baby’s breath to my funeral to fuck off – I’m so not into filler flowers.
As abruptly as it began, the storm blew right on by us, on to torture our neighbors in the east – perhaps THEY’D wind up in Kansas; it became clear that we were going to be staying right here.
The sun, shining blithely through the trees as though our world hadn’t just been rocked, and made the puddles on the side of the road shimmer and sparkle; shining like diamonds, I noted happily, as I walked outside. My neighbors emerged from their houses one by one, each of us standing at the sidewalk, looking back at our homes, inspecting them for damage. Carefully, slowly, I heard the sound of a lone chainsaw come to life, as we began to rebuild our lives, branch by ever-loving branch.
Like we always do.
Because we must.