Into the building, pull down the mask, turn on the oxygen, get in there fast. Run up three flights of stairs into a room, take a long look around, shield yourself from the fumes. Sprint to the other side, pick up a child, tell her it’s all right, you’ll be out in a while. Your eyes see a woman passed out in a chair. You sling her over your shoulder to leave, but there’s something else over there. You have to be the hero, so you pick up the cat and you run. It may be an animal; meaningless, but it’s still a life to some. The lady wakes up while she’s in your arms. She screams at first as your run. You say, “Ma’am, I am going to help you out. All you have to do is hang on.” This woman grips your shoulder pads; she’s crying and praying to God. She’s telling her child it’s okay. The words are lost in your throat. A burning beam falls before you. The lady and child both scream. But you simply jump over it and out of the building you flee. When you’re safely away from the building, you slowly remove your gear. The young woman kisses you on the cheek, and you sheepishly grin ear-to-ear. Then you all stand back and watch it burn, that building you saved them from. You may sleep for a while tonight, but the adventure is never quite done.
September 9, 2011