5 Good Minutes
Snuggled up close, Rosie and her youngest son sank in deep beneath the fluffy, pastel down comforter. Though she was asleep, in this moment, Rosie was grateful to have dodged insomnia.
DAHN! DAHN! DAHN! Rosie turns over. Being quite used to experiencing rather vivid dreams Rosie assumed the sounds where part of a dream. Half expecting the banging to stop she snuggled in deeper, pulling her youngin’ in a bit closer. Even as she laid there she tried to make mental note of the deep affection of love that she harnessed. These particular “Mom Moments” can be rare sometimes.
DAHN, DAHN, DAHN, DAHN, DAHN! The banging was real! DAHN, DAHN, DAHN, DAHN, DAHN! “What time is it?” Rosie asked herself. The clock showed 11:30 PM. DAHN, DAHN, DAHN! The sound seemed to move, and it was closer and louder. Immediately, the reality of the life and people that lived beyond her warm bed snapped her shoulders into place. “Fucking Meth Heads!” She whispered to herself.
DAHN, DAHN, DAHN, DAHN! Now the banging was on the side of her window. “WHO IS IT?!?!” No answer just more loud banging, that gathers the attention of Rosie’s 62 Lb. Pit Bull. “WHO IS IT, DAMMIT!??!?!” Her heart pounding. Still no answer, from whoever was outside of her home; and quickly, she decided to not waste her time on asking who was banging again.
Despite being in a long sleeved tee and bare feet cold against her beloved oak floors; Rosie quickly made it back to her bedroom. She clicked her lamp on and saw her precious 8-year-old stil asleep. “Don’t wake up, please don’t wake up.” She prayed with a whisper; it would be best for him to not see Mama arm herself with her .22 Long Rifle, or what could come after. Rosie breathed in deeply and walked out of the bedroom with intent.
Clip snapped in, safety on, and barrel down, “I am dialing the cops and I have a loaded gun!” Rosie yelled. Phone against her face, Rosie listens “911 What is your emergency?”.
” Yes, I live at 105 Atchafalaya Road, someone keeps knocking on my door and I think at one point my windows, too. I am alone with my son!” Rosie stated quickly. ” Ok, Mam, I will send… Umm, Mam, actually there is a fire reported in your area. It might be in regards to that. “ Rosie took a second to comprehend what she was saying. “Mam, Are you there? ” Replied the 911 dispatcher. Rosie replied, “What? A fire?! Where at? ” As she took a few more steps toward the door. “Yes mam, fire trucks are on the way and policeman are on the scene now it is on your same street.” The dispatcher confirmed. Now peeking through the door curtain, Rosie see’s an image and hears, “Mrs. Rosie! Please don’t shoot me, it is Ace!” eyes and brain now fully functional; she recognized the voice and popped out the clip along with a large sigh. “Thank you for your help.” Were Rosie’s last words into the phone before she hung up and let Ace in. Out of breath, he raised his eyebrows at her shoving the clip into her shirt pocket.
“Mrs. Rosie, next door is on fire, and it is bad! If they do not get it out fast enough it could spread to your house and it might burn too. Let’s get you out of here, what can I help with?” Ace urged. “What?! Oh my God!” She asked as she glanced out of the back door. With a quickness, similar to before, she headed down the hall and grabbed 3 duffle bags out of the closet. Ace stayed in the kitchen awaiting to help. “Do you need help Mrs. Rosie? Just tell me what to do.” She could not think beyond her own internal instruction for several seconds, if she could shake her brain to work more quickly, she would have. “Umm, My dog. Cam you put Doc in the truck, please. The ummm, the keys are hanging on hook by the mail holder. If you don’t mind, just start the truck and put him in that will be fine, please.” She squinted at her pleasantries as she packed frantically. “How was this happening?” she thought to herself somewhere in between exiting bedrooms and zipping the full bags. As Rosie tossed the bags by the door, Ace was now walking back in. “Would you like for me to put the bags in the truck?” he asked. “Yes, pl…Wait, your arm! Your arm is bleeding!” Rosie said pointing at the blood on her floor. “Oh, yes sorry. I had to make sure that no one was next door. I had to bust a window. They somehow have their doors barricaded in.” Ace replied as he grabbed the bags. “I will go in the back and grab Dax, once I get him situated in the truck, then I will grab you some gauze. Here take these. ” Rosie replied while handing him a roll of paper towels.
“Hey, Dax, wake up. Hey baby, this is serious. Hey Dax, I need for you to listen to Mama.” Stroking his hair Rosie managed to gather his drowsy attention. “Huh, Mama?” he replied. ” Can you hear me? I need for you to listen carefully. I have your warm robe and your shoes, right here. I am going to get you dressed and put you in the truck. Doc is already there and waiting for you. We have to leave, it is an emergency.” Rosie said in the sweetest most serious possible voice. “Ok Mama, what happened?” Dax asked with his eyes still shut. “The neighbor’s house is on fire and we have to make sure that we are safe. We will be ok, but we have to leave the house just in case it gets out of hand. The brave firemen are outside now.” Mama comforted. “OK.” he replied, as he rubbed his eyes and let her put on his last shoe. Without a moment to waste, he was in her arms and resting his head on Rosie’s shoulder. As they made their way outside, the cold air somehow made the flashing lights more vivid and real. Their tiny neighborhood street was lit up and lined with firetrucks, water tankers, policemen, and neighbors that they had never even met before.
Scanning the scene a bit harder, Rosie managed to find a familiar face in the crowd. “Mrs. Yo! Hey Mrs. Yo, is everyone ok?” Rosie asked. “Yes, yes I am ok. Are y’all ok? Dax isn’t crying is he? Is he scared?” Mrs. Yo asked as she walked towards them; relying heavily on her walking stick. “He is ok for right now. I think he just wants to see what is going on, really. Oh, can I please park my truck in your front yard, just in case? Ya know?” Rosie asked. “Well of course baby! No one else is home, but y’all?” She asked with concern. “No, it is just us.” Rosie replied back as she stuck her head out of the truck window to reverse it into their driveway.
Now out of harm’s way, Dax and his pup sat cuddled up in the warm back seat watching “Lama Lama”. With her babies still in view, Rosie stepped away to observe the giant blaze with the other on lookers. This was it. Was this it? Will tomorrow morning be served in ashes?
After a few moments, it seemed as if there could or could not be hope for their humble slice of swamp life. The firemen seemed to have it under control but it was still so close to her house. Far too close for comfort. “Ace, I cannot thank you enough, I just cannot… But, do you think we can run in and gather a few more things? I just don’t know how this will all end.” she asked rather glossy eyed. They stood there watching in silence for a moment wondering if it really was safe. Seconds into their shared internal struggle, the inferno seemed to had found rogue fireworks and everyone backed up a few more steps. “It might get worse, what if it gets worse?” Rosie asked in a voice that was weaker than the poise she held. After hearing herself she cleared her throat, as if that would help. “Well, I would think we had a good 5 minutes if we were to have anything. We better go before the firemen see us go back in.” Ace answered. Rosie and Ace nodded then made their way back into her home.
Opening the creaky front door, somehow felt different. As she stepped back inside, she felt safe; as if there was not a twelve-foot fire less than 10 feet away. Rosie inhaled deeply and thought “What do I grab? I may never see anything again.” Rosie recalls, ” Five minutes.” Exhales, inhales and then grabs…
- Letterman Jacket and guitar for eldest son.
- Bigger Jacket and stuffed animal for Dax.
- Letterman Jacket for husband.
- Pictures of grandparents
Walking out of the home the hypnotizing revolving lights reminded her of what exactly was going on.
“How were these the items that I grabbed?” Rosie asked herself.
“What would have been better? What else?” she continued to ask on repeat. At some point before day break she stopped asking herself. At about 4 A.M. Rosie, Dax, and Doc were never more happy to be back, in their now, more precious home.
If you had 5 minutes to grab what you needed/wanted from your home and never return… What would those items be?