February 28, 2011.
By 10:00 am our hearts were about to explode. Imagine sitting in one room for hours on end not knowing if everything you’ve owned your entire life is gone or if it is just waiting for you to return. Your head is like a projector. Images of every thing you’ve looked at and walked past everyday for the last twenty years flashes in your thoughts until you think your heart will come through your throat. Everyone you know keeps asking if you know yet, and you don’t know anything. No one will tell you anything.
By 11:00 Chance and I decided we were going to find out. We had to know. Chance, my sister Presley, and I drove to the other side of the canyon. There were already several others doing the same. We started to hike. Chance was yards ahead of me and I began to run.
I ran through burnt land and destroyed houses. I ran over power lines and smoldering debris. I ran until I saw him stop and put his hands over his face. Then I knew. I knew that our home had caught on fire.
What I didn’t know was that everything from the roof to bobby pins on my bathroom counter had turned to ash. There was NOTHING. I had expected burnt things. I expected something recognizable only kind of black from the smoke. I had really high expectations. As I scanned the rubble for something, for anything I knew, the tears began to fall. The indescribable pain flowed from my lungs as I tried to breathe. My knees hit the ground and we both just cried.
I don’t remember the ride back. I remember dry heaving in my parents’ front yard trying to get the sickness I felt out of me. I remember Chance, Presley, and Jen, holding me as though they thought I would melt into the grass.
The rest of the day was a numb blur. Telling my friends and family, and starting to cry each time I had to say it again. Calling the insurance company and explaining to a complete stranger that everything was gone. Sitting, standing, wandering around. Not knowing what the hell you are supposed to do. What do you do? Where do you start? How do you start over from complete scratch?
Then it starts. You start thinking every little thing. Your jewelry, that painting, the collection of magnets from all the places you’ve been, the pictures of your family that those magnets had held to the refrigerator. Every item you’ve collected over your lifetime.
Then you realize, shit, I can’t even take a shower because I don’t even have underwear. I don’t have anything. I have start all over from the very beginning.