This morning, I woke up, and groggily walked to the sliding glass door in order to let out the dog. The dog, not groggy, spun in circles out of sheer excitement because she got to PEE! OUTSIDE! OMIGOD! As if we force her to urinate in her crate and then mop up the excrement with her coat.
No, of course we do not force her to do that. However, she has been known to eat it…outside.
During the entire time I am waiting at the door and watching the dog, I can hear the alarm bellowing from Dave’s parent’s bedroom. (Side note: how excited do you think I am knowing we are soon moving out and I will not have to admit I live with someone else’s parents? You cannot gauge this excitement.) It is a local talk radio station, and it is so loud that it could wake the dead people in the cemetery a quarter-mile down the road from us. Seriously, it was that loud. With the window open in their bedroom, I still am not sure how they did not wake our neighbors.
This situation, it is not new. This is how Dave’s mother welcomes each morning: the radio blares, she wakes up, and turns off the alarm clock. Habitual. So ingrained in my memory that I can recite the next steps by heart. Unfortunately, that is not how this morning played out.
The dog returned to the sliding glass door. I swung it open and unleashed her from the tether. She, per usual, bounded into the kitchen, landed next to her food bowl, and threw in a few spins because OMIGOD! FOOD! She acted as if we do not feed her regularly. Or at all. All this time, however, as I am filling her bowl and setting it down in front of her drooling face, the alarm continues to blare. At this point, it has been more than five minutes of blaring. Situation is now elevated to slightly alarming. (Ha-ha! HA! … ha … yes, pun intended.)
I stood for a moment in silence. Me, I was silent, but the rest of the house was filled with the voice of a radio announcer talking about car deals and other news. In the next few seconds, I experienced an amount of dread no scary movie could prepare me for: I was sure Dave’s parents were dead in their beds because that damn alarm clock had not woken them up yet.
In the hall, just outside their bedroom, I looked into their room at their bodies lying on the bed. THEY ARE NOT MOVING! I kept thinking to myself. HELLO?! WHO DOES NOT WAKE UP AFTER THIS MUCH NOISE!? My heart was racing. I turned away for a moment. OMIGOD, I thought, IF THEY ARE DEAD EVERYONE IS GOING TO BLAME ME BECAUSE I AM ALIVE.
Yes, that thought really did cross my mind. It was then that I noticed the aforementioned open window and I thought, NO – THEY WILL THINK AN INTRUDER DID IT! (Phew, that one year of law school certainly made me an expert on evidence.) I glanced back towards the bed. Squinting in darkness, my eyes searched for pools of blood.
Okay, seriously: how mortifying is this story at this point? I experienced desperation at a whole new level as I fought for evidence of their death. However, this is also the moment where my sense of morality and duty to other humans finally caught up with my conscience. A moment later, bravery found its way into my trembling heart.
I decided I had to confront the situation. Why were two people lying in bed for over five minutes, unmoving, listening to the blaring radio? This made no sense. Whatsoever. I felt like I was living out Alfred Hitchcock or Stephen King in real time. I flipped the light switch and cowered for a moment, unsure of what the light would reveal about things once blanketed in darkness. No blood.
I crept into the bedroom, eyeing the two of their bodies underneath the blanket in the bed. I still could not tell if they were breathing. They were not waking up in the light and the alarm was still blaring. As I approached the side of the bed, Dave’s mom was sleeping with her mouth open. Still frantic, I attempted logic, which failed me quite well this morning, and reasoned that it couldn’t be possible both of them were dead at the same time during the night. That coincidence only occurs in movies.
Standing over his mother at the side of the bed, I reached out, and nudged her arm. Her eyes popped open and she looked at me and said, “Hi, what is the matter?”
I said, “Are you okay?”
She misheard me, threw back the covers, hopped up in bed, and said, “Oh my god, what’s wrong?”
I said, “Nothing is wrong, I just could not understand why neither of you were waking up the alarm that has been going off for five minutes. I was worried you guys were dead!”
How is that for facing your own mortality at six o’clock in the morning?