I finally made it, at least as far as the driveway.
I had to take Delilah and Pugsley to our vet who is just a couple of minutes from the cottage so I thought this would be the day that I could go, for the first time, since the night of the fire, and greet my beloved home. We needed to meet again on this side of the fire but we were both tentative.
I pulled into the driveway, holding my breath.
I sat there, I just sat there.
I looked at the huge dumpster, the porta-potty for the workmen, the pile of lumber under plastic which I learned later today is for reframing the roof when they tear it off to rebuild in the next week or so. I could see the blue plastic at the very top of the roof but I couldn’t get out to see how badly it was damaged on the back side. I didn’t want to look. I couldn’t bear to walk into the back yard and see the tree that fell into my beloved Magic Ship in an ice storm after the fire when we were in the hotel. That was a real blow. The house fire… but my ship too?
I sat there, I just sat there staring. Flashes of flames and smoke and screaming — Oh, I caught my breath, that was me — the policeman pulling me to the police car and gently pushing me down into the seat and I remember vividly how he blocked me from getting up because I was screaming that I had to save my babies and I wanted to run back to the house. I was absolutely out of my mind. A blur of people and fire engines down the street farther than I could see. Black smoke coming out of the house in every direction. Did I hear glass breaking or did someone just tell me about it later — the kitchen window was blown out.
I don’t remember most of the next 24 hours but I do remember talking to my sweet daughter Rachel who took me to the hotel some time past midnight, stayed with me and lovingly cared for me, dealt with the myriad people who needed to be dealt with, took the pugs in and out and brought me food. All of that is as if in a far distant dream now and the first days are a haze but I remember that just after the fire I couldn’t remember anything that was in my house but I said to Rachel, “I didn’t even get to eat my bananas…” I had grocery shopped the night before the fire and the whole bunch was still sitting on the counter before the fire. Your brain tries to protect you after such a terrible shock. Better to remember bananas than all of your belongings that were now gone.
I think the house didn’t want me to see it like that. Demolition was done inside a couple of weeks ago. There is nothing there now but studs. My daughter Rachel took the picture below and the one of the ship above when she went out to meet the woman who deals with the content loss a week or so ago…
No, the house didn’t want me to see it like that. Not yet. Neither of us is ready.
I went to the cottage today. I made it to the driveway. Today that was enough.