My dog started barking. I heard a commotion outside. What’s that smell?
I sat up. Rushed down the stairs. Is that the sound of glass breaking? What is that smell? Burned plastic?
I looked through the peep hole. Beeping sounds. I peered through the blinds. Orange flashes of light.
“Fire! Fire!” a man shouted from outside.
“Kyle get up! Get up! Get the cat! Get me a bra! The apartment is on fire!”
I slipped on my sneakers and harnessed my dog. I pulled the kennel out from the closet. The heavy bottle of bleach almost fell.
He tossed a sports bra down and I did the quickest change ever.
“Your shoes are down here, hurry!”
He put the cat in the kennel. Leashed our other dog.
I ran up, pulled my phone out from under the pillow. For some reason, I turned off the fan. Ran back downstairs. Grabbed my purse.
Opened the door, hefted the kennel.
A bright wall of flames menacingly licked the second floor. Neighbors fled their apartments, kennels and leashes in tow.
We made it to the front of the apartment complex. A fire truck with blaring lights. Firemen moving fast.
Neighbors in their pajamas just as stunned and startled. Forming circles and speculating.
“It was me, it’s my apartment…” the woman in a yellow nightie guiltily trailed off.
“Kyle, do you remember, when we first starting dating, what I said one of my greatest fears was?”
He laughs. “For a fire to start and be without a bra in front of all the neighbors and firemen.”
“Thanks for throwing down the hardest bra to put on.” I hugged him and took deep breaths until my legs stopped involuntarily shaking.
Then our dogs pooped on the grass.
P.S. No one was hurt, our apartment is okay, we are okay. I believe the only apartments damaged were the woman’s apartment, the one directly above and some slight damage to the one on the left, plus a window cracked on the one to the right upstairs. There is still a pile of charred apartment innards in the courtyard and the burned apartment is boarded up. I still need to inquire about the cause.