Awoke at 3 a.m. to a loud humming sound and wondered why the furnace was so loud and wouldn't shut off. Opened my eyes and saw bright flashing red and blue lights through the bedroom window. And then smelled smoke. I looked out to see the hum was the idling engines of about five fire engines and numerous other emergency vehicles in the street behind my house. In my grogginess I thought it might be my own house but as I quickly dressed, realized it had to be a next door neighbor. It was. I stood outside long enough to see that they had brought out all the people, though I didn't see the pets. Smoke was pouring from the roof but no visible flames from here.
I could see no way to be of help without getting in the way, so I went inside. No more sleep. I would just sit and watch and wait. Now about two hours later, a few of the vehicles are starting to put equipment away and leave.
It was Frost's house -- Gene and Donna's. Well, that was until Gene died and Donna moved away. Years ago. Friends of ours -- of Doug before he died, and mine. And after several subsequent owners, the present ones who are a young couple. The young guy of the loud stereo, loud parties, loud motorcycle, and on one occasion, brandishing guns in the front yard, all which disturbs my peace. The young woman who just moved in with him a few months ago. I saw they both were safely out of the house. But I don't see their dogs. A house fire is something you wouldn't wish on even someone like this who has been most unneighborly to the rest of us on the street. It's a terrible, frightening thing.
I looked at the house now with dark windows, some standing open. A tall ladder to one. A really pretty house. Gene and Donna had made it so lovely. It triggers so many memories of when the kids were small and growing up. And now to see it suffer this tragedy.
You think of the fragility of life. Of the passage of time. Where we have come to. How quickly things can change. The lessons of life. I wonder how to start my day, doing my cleaning, buying the flowers for my patio pots, tending the grandchildren, when such an event has shattered lives so nearby.