it’s me again.
And tonight’s story is called.
Ridiculous happy when miserable or lost.
It started out as a fairly good day, the weather was alright, nothing great for early winter, and more wet than anything.
I spent most of the day inside working on music. Or rather picking at the same songs again and again and again without much progress.
Normally when I work I tend to mumble to myself. Kind of like quiet vocal post it notes to keep my thoughts in order inside. this always drove my wife and our three cats crazy, simply because no one could decide if I was talking to myself or not
it may sound strange to include my cats, but we were all so incredibly tied into one another.
Chicken, Eris and Balthazar (yes I always give my cats epic strange names)
were sitting upright attentively at the end of my computer table, patiently waiting to see if I was going to actually be reading out loud or not.
Sometimes I also liked to read my fiction stories out loud just to see if they made sense spoken.
The cats were so used to this that it became a normal reaction to come into wherever I was and lounge about on top of me while pretending to nap. But listening in at any rate.
This was mostly a product of having raised them from birth. And doing much of the same throughout there lives.
Once it was clear that I was only mumbling to myself. Chicken and Balthazar casually meandered off to entertain themselves with other things.. Eris was always the last to go.. my great defender.. always the last to go off and entertain herself, only after making sure that I didn’t need her there.
My wife came into the room hours later with epic plans of delivery and movie night distractions. And I relented.. I was getting nowhere with my music anyway.
So we fell asleep with Eris on my head with her face as close to my face as she could get it. coiled up into a tight ball as usual and chicken and Balthazar in various states of ultra lounge across our bodies on the mound of eclectic strange blankets that ultimately buried and made our bed..
I can’t say exactly what it was that woke me up.. it was just one of those moments. You are in a deep sleep and something outside breaks into your dream and drags you back.
Groggily I could see the red LED alarm clock blinking 1:30 am
then I fully snapped into the waking world when it blinked off into complete darkness and I heard my first explosion.
The second one came as more of a dull thud sound to my hearing. But like a wooden ship getting hit in a thousand places all at once from the inside.
At the protest of my cats I crawled out of the mound of blankets to the window.. it was total darkness. Not even the soft deep orange yellow of that one street light that always pours through window at the worst and best of times.
I couldn’t see anything at all.. the moon wasn’t out. It felt like my apartment was suddenly adrift in endless, starless space.
I heard it again. The dull thud like sound but loud as hell and close.
All of the electricity was off so my apartment was plunged into absolute darkness. I had lived there long enough to generally know where everything was in the dark though.. except that is for my clothing.. there is nothing worse than trying to find black clothing in pitch black darkness in a hurry.
Eventually I found pants and my heavy coat.. the temperature had drastically fallen since we all fell asleep.
I made my way through the perils of furniture and various doors. Into the outside world.
The second I made it out of my front door was unlike anything else I had ever experienced before.
Have you ever walked into a place so cold that the cold felt like a barrier or heavy liquid. A thick membrane of itself that you have to step through.
That was my front door.
I made it outside. And the thudding sound was definitely louder, it was a cacophony from everywhere.
And that was the first time that I had ever witnessed a tree explode with my own eyes. Actually it was several at once.
The cold had come over the land so cold and so incredibly fast that it froze the very moisture itself hovering around the plant life. There was quarter inch thick ice surrounding everything..
I could hear the ice crackling into permafrost or at least something close to it. In waves across the front yard And from that moved back into the house. Closing the ice encrusted door as fast as I could
I quickly ran into the bedroom closet and pulled out every candle I could find then rummaged through the rest of the house for every heat producing object I could find and lighting them up.
I didn’t know what was going on. But we were on the river and without electricity we were going to get cold very, very quick.. all of my rummaging woke up my wife and the cats, the cats stayed on the bed looking somewhat concerned. My wife was in a controlled “oh shit what is going on” kind of mode.. so I told her what I had seen so far and what I thought we should do and we set to getting things situated.. we buried the one and only window to the bedroom in layers of extra blankets and eventually the doors. Then set to lighting every heat producing item that we could.
our world outside had instantly frozen over.. two days in and it was getting difficult to find things that could produce heat. The fourth day we left the apartment in the afternoon because of a rumor from our neighbors that the store nearby had electricity and candles.
So we braved the ruined streets littered with giant trees and mountains of solidly frozen jagged razor sharp ice.
It was true about the store but the supplies were running thin.
We bought what we could and filled our packs. And fro there followed another rumor to a Barnes and noble across town.. it was going to be horribly dangerous and lengthy.. but we had to do something. And this next place at least sold candles.. and we could get hot coffee. So far as we were told.
Off we went into the nearly pitch black streets of our city. The cold was getting a bit worse at this point. Especially once the evening came around.. we took every side street we could think of just to bee line over there. And still it took us hours of dangerous slow going through whole darkened neighborhoods. Littered with some of the biggest trees I have ever seen not standing upright and in massive pieces everywhere. One house was completely exposed to the elements because of the massive tree that crashed directly through it’s middle. (I quietly hoped that no one was hurt, but it was too far over an ice ledge to check)
A few miles away from our destination an old Hispanic woman called out of her house that we should come her way as everything ahead of us was much worse. She had a fire and no candles and several refugee neighbors cuddling around a small brick fire place.. we didn’t go in but I gave her a couple candles and told her to stay warm.. she gave us each a hug on her doorstep then hoped that god would see us safely to our destination and to please be careful and again to be safe.
Half the way through the park a few blocks away the wind really started to get heavy. The kind of winter wind that blow’s miraculously and directly through your close and skin.. it went on like this for the last two miles.. into park trails over hulking massive instantly frozen trees in the dark.
Frozen and uncontrollably shivering we walked into the Barnes and noble and immediately descended upon the Barista with frantic coffee requests.
Once we were good and warmed up we both bought a mountain of nonsense scented candles.
And any other novelty thing that might get us through this thing.. it’s Barnes and noble though so as far as that goes.. there wasn’t a lot in that category..
about four hours later and nearly falling into a frozen river from the edge of a bridge twice, and nearly having my hand separated from my arm by a razor sharp ice covered branch. We made it back to the apartment.
Once we arrived.
The cats were in that kind of semi scary state.. where they stay solidly still in one spot to conserve energy. And they move around very little because they obviously know that something is very wrong and waiting for whatever might come.
Eris against her obvious physical protests (she was always my biggest protector and greatest friend) slowly walked to the door and meowed at me, it was so soft and relieved sounding. I was frozen at that moment. But melted into a mess and have almost never cried so hard in my entire life. I collected her into my arms, her fur was cold but the rest of her under the fur, she was warm.. the same for Balthazar and chicken.
They were ok.. just waiting and cold.
the bedroom was dangerously cold. So we set to putting up all of the heat producing items we brought back with us.. the bedroom never really got warm, but I would be damned if I ever left my cats alone in here again.
So for the next four days Eris and chicken stayed under my hoodie against my body (Balthazar always preferred my wife) she and Balthazar were pressed up against me
and I told all of them fantastical nonsense stories to the returning sound and feeling of contented purring.
Eris would poke her head out of the top of my hoodie every once in a while just to sniff the air and look at my face.. but they both stayed there in my hoodie. (Not including bathroom breaks) and that is how we stayed.
and the lights came on.
I was keeping a couple of extra cans of tuna aside for the moment that I could make an epic sandwich
at the end of this nightmare just to toast it lol I know it’s ridiculous but you think of the strangest things when you are miserable and dreaming.
Me and my wife had epic cheesy melted tuna sandwiches from one can and the cats had a can all to themselves.
I had honestly never felt so alive and so miserable and broken before in my life.
It was the best and worst… and the best of moments.