There are certain moments in your life that seem so unimaginable, so terrifying even when lots of time has passed. Certain course of events change you forever. Such incident happened to me when I was faced with a life and death situation a few years back. Such moments where the life of someone you so deeply care about so deeply love are at stake is when you forget that you are only human. Such moments are so adrenaline filled so awe-inspiring, that they leave you completely stunned in the aftermath. The fire that almost consumed me and my beloved cousin was such an event.
It was an ordinary summer day. It was too hot to go outside so we decided to stay in and entertain ourselves with fresh fruit and juices to beat the heat. My baby cousin of a one year was staying with us as her mother was out on her day job. My mother wanted to eat something special for dinner to celebrate both the baby’s birthday and to have a fun family time. By sunset my parents left to buy food leaving me to babysit my cousin. “We’ll be back in an hour’’, “Feed the baby some milk if she cries don’t worry too much”, my mother said as she closed the apartment door behind her. Little did we all know what would happen in the coming hour.
It’s funny how insignificant time seems when you are having fun or living your normal everyday lives. It is when you are faced with certain death when you truly feel like time has come to a crawling pace. Each second, each moment is impactful enough to leave a permanent mark in your mind. It is even more significant when you are responsible for the life of another. This is when your true worth as a human is tested. Will you cower away or take responsibility?
A mere spark in the kitchen was enough to set up a chain reaction. The fire started the size of a candle flame to now becoming a living breathing dragon whose only intention was to consume everything in its destructive path. It had no remorse, no conscience and no moral .All it knew was chaos.
The ferocious fire spread and danced around the walls and floor of the apartment devouring everything in its flames. The windows of the apartment were dark and remote. The smoke nearly choked me as I darted my head from side to side looking for a clear path that would lead to the door. The suffocation made it nearly impossible for me to keep my head. Then without giving anything a second thought I ran. The blazing carpet and instruments lying on the floor did little to stop me. I kicked open the burning door’s remnants and stumbled out of the building.
The blaring noise of a fire fighter’s truck brought me back as I regained consciousness. I was lying on the cold hard pavement. The building engulfed in wild flames behind me was being tamed by water from the truck. A rescuer covered me with a cloth and shook me up asking what happened and inquiring about the people inside. It was then that the blood in my veins froze as I remembered my little cousin was still there in her cot. She was sleeping in the other room. How could I be so immature and forget her? She was my responsibility and I failed her.
With the horrific thought of something happening to her I got up at the speed of light. Gentle embrace reassuring her that I would be fine as I was carried into the ambulance. The guilt of leaving my cousin behind faded as the relief that she was safe now spread over me.
I turned around and pushing everyone off me and ignoring the rescuers dashed into the building. The flames had been tamed to some extent but the smoke and smell was still there making every breath painful. I fought my way across to the other room. The cot still safe from the fire’s fury stood erect in front of me. I heard the crying, my cousin’s cries for help and quickly scooped her up into my arms.
Clasping her against my chest and using my arms as a shield to cover her, I made a run for it. My feet burned but I ran and relief spread as I saw the door and rescue workers rushing towards me. She was safe and she was my responsibility and I brought her back safe, alive and breathing.
A big black veil covered me and my feet were burnt badly but I did not let go of my baby cousin. She was safe and it was all that mattered right now. A wheelchair was hurried in and I was carried and seated into it with feet pricking with pain. I still held her close to my chest while she screamed and struggled in fear. As we were rushed outside into the ambulance, my family came running. Scarlet faced with tears rolling down their eyes. My mother hugged me and said, ‘’you went back, you took responsibility, and I am proud of you. Thank heavens you’re safe’’. I gave my baby cousin away into my mother’s arms.
It took me an hour to come to my senses and register what had gone past. I never knew I had it in me to do what I had done. With shock came realization that my precious cousin was safe. Tears came on their own .My body started shaking and the intensity of my tears knew no end. This sudden rush of fear and joy filled me. I did not know I was capable of feeling such contrasting emotions at the same time. In the end I felt relief .Relied that something terrible was beaten. I did not let the fiery dragon consume me and my cousin. I had won. Most importantly, I was alive, my family was alive. The unthinkable had happened but we were alive and that is all that matters.