Summer Highlights By Christine Swiderski
Lawn mowers and weed whips can be heard in the distance. As I am tending to my garden the thought did occur to me 'I could be at the beach or lying in the sun on the deck' I knew I needed to buckle down finish my weeding and watering to enable me to enjoy my time in the sun. While I was rolling up the hose finishing my clean up of the area I was working on I heard a siren in the distance. Tornado warning. I checked the sky, nary a cloud in it. Yet the siren blares its warning.
Taking my shoes off before entering my house I grabbed my cell phone to call my husband at work. It went directly to voice mail. Shrugging, figuring he was busy I entered the house stripped my sweaty dirty clothes near the washer. Walking up the stairs to the master bath phone in hand I decided to call my sister at work. Same as my husband it went to voice mail. Stepping into the shower I decided to try my sister again after I showered.
Drying off with a fan blowing on me, I reached for my phone to call my sister again still no answer. Dialing my husbands number my expectation was heightened believing he would answer. He did not. The tornado siren stopped. In its place were emergency vehicle sirens. Now I am worried.
I dressed quickly turned to run down the stairs to turn on the news. I took the stairs two at a time. The screen jumped to life. The reporter said downtown area took a direct hit. She was standing in front of what was left of my husband's office building. They had search and rescue dogs. Searching for survivors. I was glued to the screen wondering if the person who was on the stretcher was Martin. The reporter said the survivor they just found was an identified female. The screen split to show another area of town that was decimated. The reporter stood across from my sister's business. The reporter was saying there were no survivors the building was a complete loss.
Falling to my knees with the remote still in my hand I wailed. The sound reverberated off my skull sounding more like a wounded animal, not me at all.
At that moment, my phone rang. It was my mom asking me if I had heard from Martin or Jessie. I cried no. My mom said that Jessie told her she took the day off from work. She wanted a spa day for herself. I was relieved. I told my mom I would go to The Casa Respite since I could not get Jessie on the phone. I jumped in the car my hair still soaking wet and went to the hotel where my sister goes for her spa day.
When I walked in a chill went through me. Figuring it was because my hair was wet, blaming the air conditioning for causing the chill.
The woman at the counter said they do not give out names or room numbers of those who are staying at the hotel. When she turned to pick up the phone I moved just enough to see Jessie was registered in room 219. Getting on the elevator with 4 other people I pushed the button for the second floor. Again a chill went through me. I found room 219 and knocked when the door opened Martin answered only wearing a towel. Jessie was standing near the window looking out also only in a towel. I stared at Martin in silence, then said “I wish you were in the rubble of your office building with Jessie beneath you. Do not bother coming home. I will be filing on the way home.” Turning I walked away with my gut in a knot.