When I was about 33, I was still single with no prospects. I decided I may spend the rest of my life alone, so instead of waiting to get married I bought a small house on the northern border of Massachusetts. I’d lived alone my whole life, but always in 2-family homes, apartments or condos. There were always people around. This was my first experience living in total isolation.
Moving into a house alone is a challenging accomplishment. The first day I moved in, I sat surrounded by my boxes and wondered what I was doing there and whether I’d just made the worst mistake of my life. The financial commitment had been a tough decision for me.
It was a lovely, sunny little house with a back patio that bathed the interior of the house with the morning sunrise. All sorts of birds came to visit, even without a bird feeder.
But there were things I learned about being completely alone. I was a little nervous about going into the basement by myself because of a slight fear of the dark. When people came to the front door, it terrified me (it still does).
My water pressure was so low, a pump in the basement was needed to bring it into the house. The plumber who put the pump in completely screwed up the piping, and so instead of running on demand, the pump ran all the time. It was a constant maintenance issue and I went through one burnt out pump and was on my way to burning out a second pump before my father came to visit and noticed the misplaced check valves. I must say, my father had some genius qualities. He would have been a great father if he hadn’t been so withdrawn and moody.
About a year after I bought the house, Massachusetts was hit with Hurricane Bob. I put together a small box of batteries, candles, flashlights, and a small radio and that was it for my hurricane preparations.
The hurricane didn’t last long, but when it came, a tree fell onto my house and at the same time my electricity went out. Then my basement flooded. Outside, things were flying past my house horizontally. I was caught in my house in the dark, knowing a tree was on top of the house. The winds were a deafening howl. The whole house shook, and it felt as though the windows were on the verge of shattering. It was as though a monster was banging on my door demanding entrance. I was scared out of my mind, but there was no way to get to my car to drive to a shelter to be with people (Thank God, because it never occurred to me I’d want to go to a shelter, so I had no idea where it even was).
Huddled on the floor in the dark, holding myself and shaking, I was so desperate that I ended up calling a friend from work. He told me to sit tight and don’t worry. His calm voice helped me get through it, but I’ve never forgotten Hurricane Bob and how shit-faced terrified I was.
Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?
Thanks for the idea, kickerkim!