As best as I could figure, it had been two full days since the earthquake, and they still hadn’t found us.
It had all happened so quickly: the tremble in the earth became a roar, as the very earth was opening its gaping jaws to swallow us whole.
Maternal instinct immediately kicked in. I’d leapt from bed like a woman scalded, scooping up my infant in one arm and dashing for my toddler’s room in a mere four paces. I remember. Two to exit the room, one around the corner, flying in to her room on the fourth.
I pulled her from bed with my free arm and dove for the doorframe. Both of them were screaming. I think I was screaming too, but I don’t quite remember that part.
What I do remember is the building forsaking its right angles and trading them for thirty-degree ones. The whole structure shifted sideways, and the three of us were falling.
We lived on the third of four levels in our apartment complex, in the center, not on the edges. Maybe that’s what kept us from being crushed. As the earth finally ceased its shuddering, our building found a semi-stable balance, pocketing us into a little hole near the outside wall.
One meter by one meter by two meters. I measured. I could sit up, and my toddler could stand. There were cracks for air, and a very dim trickle of light, but nothing beyond crushed concrete walls and exposed metal bracings.
I didn’t stop holding my children close for quite some time, cooing and comforting them, which helped to calm my racing heart. The newborn was the first of us who calmed, followed by my toddler. My heart didn’t slow its pace for another hour.
As I assessed our dirty concrete situation, I finally allowed my mind to turn outwards. My husband was working night shift as security at a local industrial center. Surely he had survived. Surely he would come to rescue us.
I did not allow my heart or my mind to even consider anything else.
Source: This blog series is inspired by the book “Earth from Above: 365 Days” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Click here to read more about my Creation365 series.
The top picture is from “Turkey. The coast of Marmara. Earthquake at Golguk.”
Arthus-Bertrand, Yann, Isabelle Delannoy, and Christian Balmes. 2005. The Earth from above: 365 days. New York: Harry N. Abrams.