Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Friday Night Lights

We had a pretty uneventful weekend for a change last weekend....well, at least that is how we thought it would be.  The highlight was to be a party our neighbors had on Saturday night.  They are great neighbors, always there to baby-sit the cats when we go out of town, to lend tools or a helping hand - you name it.  When we have parties, it's not unusual for Leroy to wake up in the wee hours to start preparing barbequed meats to bring over.  This time, we were the ones planning to return the favor by making trays of goodies and lending our keg-o-rator and yard games to the cause.

Knowing this was ahead, and relishing a little bit of down time, we took it easy on Friday night.  A friend came over for games and left around midnight.  Sheldon went to bed a bit before me, and I ended up falling asleep on the couch with the TV on (a guilty pleasure).

Just after 2:00 am, I awoke and decided to turn off the TV and head to bed.  When I turned the TV off, I heard a woman's screams coming from outside the house.  My heart started pounding.  I peered through the windows and the front door -- nothing.  I put my ear to the door and heard her screaming more.  I could tell she was yelling at someone, that there were words to the shrieks.  I opened the front door and stepped outside.  Then, the words became clear.  Over and over I heard her scream, "What did you do?  Oh God, what did you do?"  Now my heart was really pumping.

I looked around, still bleary-eyed from my slumber, and saw a woman in the driveway next door (not where cat-sitter Carol and handyman Leroy live; the other side).  She was the one screaming, but I couldn't see anything else.  There was a car halfway in the garage, like someone was getting ready to drive away.  I didn't understand what was happening, but I knew something was very, very wrong.  I felt like I should call 911, but had no idea what to report.  I felt sick to my stomach, thinking the words "What did you do?" maybe meant someone had killed someone, or themselves.

Afraid and confused, I went back inside and woke up Sheldon.  We spent the next few minutes trying to make heads and tails out of what exactly was going on.  Then we heard the sirens and saw the lights.  Immediately, there were two fire trucks and an emergency vehicle parked in front of our house, and a spotlight being shone around. 

Seeing the emergency lights in front of our house sent me reeling.  The last time there were flashing lights in front of my house, my husband was taken away dead on a gurney.  I've never been able to see the lights of an ambulance without having a flashback to that awful day.  If I'm driving and see one, I try to look away so it is only in the corner of my eye.  Seeing them in that kind of momentary setting is one thing -- my heart races, my chest gets tight, and then it passes and I can slowly come back to reality and normalcy.  Having it parked in front of my house was dreadful.  I was in tears and felt physically ill.  My head was spinning and my heart was pounding for what seemed like an eternity.  Sheldon went out to see what was going on.  I couldn't stick it out alone in the house -- it felt like the walls were closing in on me, and I needed him next to me.  I went outside and learned what had happened -- someone had driven into our neighbor's driveway, through the closed garage door, and halfway into their house.  As it turned out, it was their other next-door neighbor (who lives two houses down from us) who had done that, apparently drunk and confused about where he lived and which pedal was which in the car.  He plowed into their garage, hitting both of their vehicles, pushing their truck through the wall into their master bedroom.  Before going back inside, we made sure to find out whether everyone was okay (remarkably, despite the wall being pushed up nearly flush with the bed, and with debris everywhere, both our neighbors escaped unscathed).  I'm sure other neighbors on the scene wondered why I was holding my chest and practically mute, and why my face was so particularly panic-striken.

Once inside, I still could not get my body to calm down for a long time.  Sheldon went back to bed fairly quickly, but I literally had to pace around the living room and force myself to breathe slowly, in through the nose and out through the mouth.  It took time to get myself physically under control.  Finally, I was able to go to bed.  Still, I was up pretty early and that scene was the first thing I thought about.  Before I was even dressed in daytime clothes, I went outside to see things in the light of day and to verify with my own eyes what had happened and that everyone was okay.  I had to give our neighbors a hug right away -- it was like I needed to physically hold them near my body to make it believe that, yes, everything really was okay.  Only then could I feel normal again.

That morning and afternoon, we checked in with our affected neighbors (Arnold and Juanita) several times to see what help we could offer.  We made cookies for them and the handymen who were at work immediately cleaning up debris and boarding up the car-sized hole in their house.  Eventually, Saturday turned into a day more closely resembling the one we anticipated -- making dip, cleaning up the house, etc.  Our other neighbors went forward with their party that evening, and a good time was had by all.  Still, it ended up not being the biggest excitement of the weekend like we thought.


1 comment:

  1. sounds scary...feel so bad for the neighbors (all of them). what a hot mess! and feel bad for you too- sending a virtual hug your way :)