The flash of the orange light and smell of burning plastic and wiring permeated the air as I opened the door to the basement. I crept down the stairs using the flashlight on my iPhone to illuminate each step. Once I reached the bottom landing, I could see flames shooting from the back of the fuse box and up the wall.
I turned, climbed the stairs and left the house. As soon as my foot hit the driveway I dialed 9-1-1. Calmly, I told the operator that an electrical fire was burning inside the home in Connecticut where I’ve spent many of my weekends for a half a decade.
Within minutes fire trucks, police and a worker from the power company arrived. By then, I was soggy. The rain had soaked my hair, my clothes and my shoes but I didn’t care. I was alive and well.
Over the next two hours, first responders searched the home and cleared the smoke. I stood in the driveway with a smile on my face. I was overcome with a sense of gratitude.
I realized that I was not worried about the things I’d accumulated at all. I only thought about the people I loved and being able to see them again. I was grateful that the fire happened in the day time when no one was asleep. I appreciated the fact that I walked out of the home without a cane. I was thankful that the fire didn’t injured anyone and didn’t cause any major damage. It was happy that the flames broke out in the summertime so I wasn’t left standing in the cold. And, I was glad that I had everything I needed like my license, phone, my medication, car keys and the keys to my home in New Jersey.
It occurred to me that unlike some other people I still had a place to call home after the fire. Then, I thought about what Friedrich Nietzsche said, “to live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”
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