I was stuck somewhere between the conscious and unconscious world. Trying to wake yet I was gripped by sleep. I couldn’t open my eyes and I heard nothing – complete silence. I wondered what would cause me to hear nothing. Was I deaf? Was I buried in mud where all worldly sounds were muffled? If I was buried then how could I breathe? Panic hit as I realized that if I was not breathing, I might be dead. Or, was I buried alive?
I tried unsuccessfully to move. Whatever was happening was keeping me from moving, seeing or hearing. Panic took over and I tried desperately to move and to open my eyes or speak. I could feel my lips part and in my mind, I was screaming but no noise actually escaped my lips. I concentrated on my eyes next – trying to open them, trying to see.
Finally, after much struggle, I could move a little. That movement seemed to liberate my eyes and I could see a sliver of light although the light was painful and causing them not to cooperate with my desire to see. I could hear a grunt from my chest as well. I tried hard to move an arm and felt a sudden jerk when all my strength finally took hold of the uncooperative limb all at once. Once again, I concentrated on my eyes and they flickered open a little more.
The light seemed so bright that I wondered if I was under some type of examination light. The thought scared me and I wanted whoever might be examining me to know that I was alive, or at least I thought I must be alive and this would prove it. I continued with significant effort to move my legs and shield my eyes with my arm as I continued to edge them open. Finally, I opened my eyes and was completely startled by my surroundings.
I was in my bedroom as it was before the mudslide. How could this be? Was heaven a recreation of your favorite spot on earth? I sat up in shock trying to figure out what was happening to me when, in the light of the bed-side lamp, I could clearly see that Eddie & Daisey were sleeping on either side of me. What?
The last thing I remember before the horrible ordeal with the mudslide was being awakened by a text message alert and then getting up to walk the dogs. This was all very confusing to me and I jumped out of bed to investigate. My legs were not completely awoken, frankly neither was my brain, and I hit the floor with a thud. The dogs were on me and licking me in no time.
The realization of my experience began to form but I had to look out the window to be sure. While it was as dark as it gets during an Alaska summer, everything appeared normal. No tilted house, no debris on the deck, and all the houses I could see were untouched. It was a dream: a very bad, vivid dream where I was left alone to die without my dogs. I had experienced a colossal nightmare. I realized the worst of it was just a dream and now I wondered what parts were real. Was there a text message from Guy on my phone or was that part of my dream? Were my memories of the dark dining assault real?
I didn’t want to face the truth right now. I was too shaken by the night terror to add additional emotion to my feelings by checking my cell phone for the message or to try to reconstruct my newly found dark dining memories. Instead, I let the dogs into the backyard and checked the clock to learn that it was four o’clock in the morning. There was no way I was going back to bed but I wasn’t sure if that was because I was wide awake or afraid of another bad dream.
I made coffee and started to pack my bag for Anchorage but the trip now seemed like a bad idea. What if this wasn’t a dream at all but a premonition? Someone, something could be trying to tell me something. It was too early to call Ginger and cancel my trip to Anchorage. I unpacked my freshly packed bags when I realized there was no way that Ginger, as persuasive as she is, was going to talk me into leaving now. And to cement my decision, I also unpacked the dog’s bag that was still packed from my last trip.
I signed onto the internet and for an hour and a half researched both mudslides and premonitions. I kept my eye on the cell phone on my night stand and resisted the urges to check it for a text message. I focused on the probability of my house being swept away during a landslide instead. I started to wonder what was wrong with my life when I chose the morbid fixation of being killed in a landslide over checking to see if the man of my unknown-status relationship did or did not send a text message. Maybe I should go to Anchorage with Ginger. As I pictured myself packing my bag for a second time in two hours, I made the decisions to stay home and to check the phone.
It wasn’t like the phone was going to suddenly move like in a childhood game of keep away but I found myself slowly sneaking up on it anyway. Part of me wanted to know, part wanted to get it over with, and part of me wanted to stick my head in the sand. I held the smooth, cool, plastic devise in my hand. It was amazing that a devise so small held so much information. Not only did it house my entire phone and address book, along with call records & old text messages, but in a sense, it also held my history and my future. The records would tell me if I received a text message from Guy before the night mare or if the text message was part of the nightmare. I held my breath as I opened the devise.
A visible smile grew across my face as I read the simple message, “I miss you.” He did contact me. I must have fallen asleep after reading it. My recollection of getting up to walk the dogs was all part of a horrible dream. I felt elation at the realization but the relief also let my fatigue come forward. I was fighting sleep by staying busy and focusing on the text issue. Now that everything was resolved, my body was insisting on sleep. The ratties agreed with my body so we all went back to bed and slept with no memorable dream this time.
Eddie was the first to awake and would not let me sleep any longer. It was eight o’clock which was an hour past his normal breakfast time. I quickly fed the dogs and then practiced my call to Ginger as I watched them romping in the backyard. When I finally worked up the courage I made the call.
“Morning sunshine.” Ginger is definitely a morning person.
“It’s morning all right” I responded in a groggy voice.
“What’s the matter? You sick?” she asked with little sympathy.
I decided to get it over with by getting straight to the point. “Ginger, I can’t go to Anchorage today.” There, I said it.
There was a slight pause before she asked why, inquired if I was OK, and expressed her disappointment. I suggested that she go ahead and she suggested that I might come a day later.
Eventually I told about my nightmare, my lack of sleep, and the computer research I had done. I explained that I needed to find a new place to live right away. As I was explaining it I realized how crazy I must sound.
Ginger must have been stunned into silence because she normally has an opinion for everything. But, being the good friend and opened-minded person that she is, she suggested that I meet with a local geologist to learn more about the probability of losing my house on the hillside to a slide. Since I don’t know Elizabeth Jane, who was our only USGS employees on the island and who goes by the simple moniker “EJ”, she volunteered to arrange the meeting. I thanked Ginger and talked her into not aborting the trip because of me. I used a convincing argument that it was business and as a partner she should attend to it so she was off to Anchorage. A couple hours later I was off to a coffee date that would leave me in a tail spin.