Who runs towards a burning building?

Apparently I do.

My husband disappointed me tonight (though not on purpose). I asked him to read my blog so that he knows the things I’m thinking about lately. I wanted him to say something profound and he didn’t say anything at all. [I have 186 comments on this blog and none of them are his]. It wasn’t on purpose, he just didn’t know what to say. I asked him sadly if anything I ever wrote or talked about ever meant anything him (because it’s been a very long time since he’d been able to express himself to me like I do to anyone who’ll listen to me) and when he didn’t answer, I turned, feeling a great sadness (the same sadness I have felt many times over).

I went for a long walk tonight to try and take some time to think. One of the things I used to do when I processed my thoughts was walk. No one bothered me (unless I brought a friend to talk with), I could go where I wanted to (friend usually had no option, I had to import my friends from other towns), I could walk as long as I wanted to (and often did). I haven’t walked for the express purpose of thinking for a long time.

Not 50 paces from my house did I go before I saw suspicious looking black smoke arising quickly from a neighbors’ house. It did not look or smell right. It didn’t smell woodsy, like when you burned a bonfire, but acrid and the smoke was black and thick, not gray and light. As I got closer, I decided I was going to check. The upstairs was dark but I could see red light flickering in through the house windows. I knew something was not right.

I ran to the back of the house while composing what I was going to do if it was a house fire and that was run to to their neighbor’s to tell them to call 911 then run back over to ring their front door and to warn them.

When I got in the back to see what was going on, still half-expecting my neighbors to be having a bonfire in the back of the house, what I found was my neighbor’s husband frantically using the hose to spray down the wall of the siding.

I stopped abruptly when I saw him, and said, “Oh, what happened?”
No response.

I inquired, “Are you okay?”

He said, “yes, I am now”

I repeated my question, “What happened?”

He paused, clearly uncomfortable with the question, then answered, “well, I ended up throwing out the wood chips from the grill into the (plastic) recycle bin”.

(I knew that was a dumb idea, but I didn’t say it. By the grim look on his face, I could tell he already knew he did a bone-headed thing).

I said then, “Oh, okay. Did you need any help?”

He replied “No, I think it’s okay”

I said to him, “well, even though it looks like it’s out, you should keep checking on it to make sure there’s nothing underneath smoldering because it could re-light”.

He then, said, “yeah”.

And I said, “If you are okay I’m going to leave”.

He said, “Yeah, I’m good”.

So I continued on my walk…thinking…thinking of all that transpired and what would have gone down had he not been there already. 45 minutes later, I came back and checked on him. He was still in the back of the house, just watching it. He’d torn off the siding by then. I asked him if the kids were home. He said only the daughter, the boys were off with their mother in Las Vegas.

I asked him, “Are you worried about what you are going to say to S?”

He said, “No, I phoned her already”.

I asked her if she was mad and he said, “no”.

I just looked at him then, and told him “You know, between the broken front window [from a baseball 2 weeks ago] and now the siding, you guys aren’t having much luck are you?”

He just laughed and said, “no”.

I said, “You know, it’s just stuff, isn’t it?”

And he replied, “Yeah, I know…it could have been a lot worse”.

I told him then if he needed anything, he knew where to find us and went back home to my husband and told him the story of our neighbor’s house fire. Then he hugged me tightly and told me he was sorry for hurting me and for not trying hard enough.

I told him that was okay and I really meant it. It could be a lot worse.

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