September 12, 2018
Dawn’s day started like any other: alarm clock blaring, hitting snooze an extra time, and slowly stumbling out of bed and into the shower before the kids and sun rose.
When Dawn stepped out of the shower she heard the faint beep of a smoke detector battery nearing its end.
“Great,” she sighed, as she wrapped her hair in a towel and went to investigate. She climbed onto her bed and gingerly stepped into the nightstand thinking, “Please don’t fall. Please don’t fall,” as she reached up to try to pull the detector out.
“Super. It’s stuck,” she thought as the nightstand wobbled a bit. “This is all I need. To fall and knock myself out so that the children will find me dead on the floor with a smoke detector in my hand, naked with nothing but a towel wrapped around my head. This is not how I planned to begin the 10 days of repentance.”
After finally unhooking the smoke detector and removing the battery, she left it on the nightstand and got dressed, making a mental note to have Scott replace it that night.
The rest of the morning, though rushed as usual, went off without a hitch and Dawn was able to get the kids to school on time.
As she drove to her appointment to have her car serviced, a morning dove swooped down. In the milliseconds she watched, she knew the bird would expertly avoid her car.
Unfortunately, the dove didn’t seem to notice her presence and flew head first into Dawn’s windshield. Dawn sadly watched in her rear view mirror as the bird ricocheted over her car and landed on the road behind her.
“This year’s not looking good for forgiveness for me,” Dawn’s thoughts again trailed to the upcoming Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, “God I hope I make it into the book of life.”
After returning from her service appointment, Dawn went out back to check on her garden. As she walked down the deck stairs, she passed through an unseen web and, allowing her irrational fear of spiders to take hold, tripped down the remaining steps, landing her ass-down on the ground with a twisted ankle, a flash of her life, and looking up to the heavens asking her family members for some understanding as her heart raced with adrenaline.
Dawn hobbled back inside and upstairs to her office. The garden would have to wait. She’d just take it easy, ice her ankle, and finish inputting school directory information and working on the PTO kickoff fundraiser she was chairing. “That way, God forbid I don’t make it to Yom Kippur, at least everything can still go on without me,” Dawn giggled, amused at the absurdity of the day so far.
When it was time to leave for school to pick up the children, Dawn walked into the garage and was overwhelmed by the smell of gasoline. “What the hell?” she thought, as she opened the garage door to allow the vapor to escape.
Now it was starting to get real and Dawn’s earlier amusement turned to fright.
Dawn climbed into her car, put her key in the ignition and stopped.
She flashed back to the fire and everything she and Scott had learned about natural gas, gasoline, flammable ingredients, and ignition after that horrific day. Everything she never sought to know was forever etched in her long term memory.
Dawn now knew that gasoline in liquid form does not ignite, but the vapors do as her unrelenting fear latched on with an unrelinquishing stronghold.
She stepped out of the car, shaking, her stomach inching towards her throat. She walked outside and dialed Scott at work. Her call went straight to voicemail which meant that he was in a meeting. Tears started forming as her eyes burned with fear.
She went back into the garage and sat in her car for what felt like an eternity, trying to convince herself that turning the key would not spark an ignition of flames.
“You can do this. You can do hard things. You will not blow up. You will be ok. Dear God, please let me be ok.” Dawn spoke aloud to herself as she held her breath and turned the key…