Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Think Out Loud  Butterflies and Earthquakes
My mom and I went to Safeway to buy Baileys and garlic bread. I know, weird combo. On the islands you often have to hit several different stores to complete your grocery list. I was standing in front of the wine coolers when a rumbling sound made the bottles rattle. I thought it was insane for Safeway to be moving equipment big enough to shake the concrete floors. The groaning and rumbling continued. I looked around and found a man ten feet way. Then the bottles exploded. I caught his eyes again. "We're having an earthquake," I said stupidly. A huge one. We stared at each other for another long second. The floor yanked sideways so hard the lights above were breaking. My brain took over and insisted I find my mom. So I wandered the isles of booze looking for her. I have no idea how I remained on my feet other than the explanation why drunks rarely are hurt in accidents. I was in such a shocked state I was completely relaxed.
Then I found her. She slipped right in front of me surrounded by broken liquor bottles and wearing the same thing I was wearing, a sundress and flipflops (we call them zories on Guam). "You have to get up, Mom." "I can't!" She was sliding around in the booze. Then I saw her toe bleeding. "You can't be in that glass, Mom." "Robyn!" She was trying to snap me out of it. "No, mom." I bent down, and with my hands secured under her arms, I picked her up like she weighed nothing until her eyes looked down on me and her feet dangled above the shards. I couldn't let her be hurt again. "Put me down! We have to take cover. The windows are going to break!" I looked at the wall of windows. "No, I can't let you get cut again." "ROBYN!" That did it. I set her down. She grabbed my arm and we used a grocery cart to guide us to a checker stand where we folded ourselves in the small space the checker person stands when she rings up your order. The ceiling was coming down. Glass was exploding left and right and I had unknowingly strained all my muscles fitting myself into that tiny space with my mom, and maybe lifting a grown woman above my head.
The earthquake registered at 8.2 for over a minute. I shook for hours after. I still remember that moment with the man when the bottles exploded in front of us. A stranger experiencing the biggest shock of his life at the same time I was. I had no idea Guam sat on an insane fault line. Eighteen years of small and medium earthquakes that were just kind of cool, then this. And I shared that moment of awe and terror with this guy.
Think Out Loud is a meme like no other. Whatever is on your mind, big or small or in picture form, join us, share.