Shaken awake, I laid in bed for a few heartbeats before deciding, yes, yes, this was indeed and earthquake and bolted to a doorless doorway for the duration of the quake (which lasted many more heartbeats, but given my ticker was thumping along as if I had just jumped out of a hot air balloon, it’s hard to give an actual time estimate on that).
The last trembler I remember was before 50/50, when I was still dating who we affectionately all call Pony Boy around these parts.* I awoke after rumbling had pulled him from sleep, unclear as to why I was awake. I dropped back into half dreams when a second quake hit, and like a scared hummingbird began whimpering and squeaking. Pony Boy pulled me into him, his arms fully around me, not saying a word until it was over. “We’re okay,” he whispered. He wasn’t huge into all night snuggling, but he kept me there the rest of the night.
We never talked about that moment, the one where I unleashed unadulterated vulnerability.
On Saturday night, after the quake finished, I texted my neighbor (his phone doesn’t connect calls, and my phone struggles to be a phone) to check in. I texted my old neighbor who I wasn’t sure had experienced an earthquake. I texted one of my best friends. And then I cautiously crept into bed, turned on NPR, hugged my dolphin Betty, and tried to keep the images of ex’s holding their new significant others at bay. Comforting myself, by myself, is still a new skill – one I still need to practice especially during the bigger stuff.
“We’re okay,” I whispered to Betty.
“We’re okay,” I whispered to my radio.
I’ve been pondering moving in the past month or two. Nowhere far. Maybe even somewhere ridiculously close. It’s not the running away sort of moving I’m accustomed to, the one that screams newness will solve what ails me (it won’t). It’s just not just about wanting a living room (which I do); instead, I just am not sure I need to live alone anymore. I’d like to have someone live and in person to talk to during an earthquake, or right after. Someone who knows where I am, asks how I am. Someone to deal with the aftermath, even if there is no aftermath.
Someone to say “We’re okay” to.
Maybe I need a cat.
*Admittedly, my friends have several other nicknames for this guy, some kind, some…less kind. But undoubtedly hilarious.