– Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Then and now-
Sitting comfortably on a mollycoddle sofa that welcomes my presence. I listen to the tender, lenient breeze gliding by the window cell. Then the rain comes lopping down, drop by drop it flows like a drum and the joyful beat fills my ears. Mum bangs around in the kitchen but I don’t notice as I stare out the window. I hear a low pitch hum as a plane peacefully flies above my house.

A giant rumble awakes me. Certainly that’s not my tummy at this time of the morning. My bed shakes violently. My mind races around in confusion. Hush, hush. Can’t you hear that? I bounce out of bed. I voyage my way to the doorway. Standing, shivering. I feel my knees knocking against one another. I don’t know who is shaking more, me or the ground. “Door way” I hear my Dad shout. I see my brother and sister appear at their doorways. Their pale white faces appear in the faint glow of the alarm keyboard. Bang! Crash! Thud! I watch my wardrobe door open and close, open and close. Lights sway. Books fall. Hearts pound. Teeth chatter. Ears listen. Eyes see. I hear sequels. I feel hopeless and scared. I see thing flying around. “Bomb!” I hear my Mum yell. Bomb? I question as l let my body sway left to right. I have no control. I feel like a puppet someone else is pulling my strings. What’s happening? What is it? It can’t be a bomb… l look toward my sister. I can tell what she’s thinking… earthquake

Suddenly the ground calms down. I look around my room; papers and book scatter the floor. The power is gone. Roar! The shaking starts again. I hold on to the doorway with clenched fists. It’s not over yet. How wrong was I? This solid, flat ground that I had walked, ran, hopped, skipped, and jumped on could not be trusted. How could the ground be so strong and tough but yet weak and vulnerable at the same time? My house my sturdy brick house that I always kicked a ball against and watched it as it came rebounding back to me. My ball didn’t stand a chance. How? How did this freak of nature shake the one place that I trusted? How did my house sway like a tree in a strong breeze?

The biggest mistake, I have ever made was believing I was safe. Believing that I was invincible. Even though I didn’t believe in “Santa Clause “ or the “tooth fairy” anymore, I still was just an innocent girl , innocent in thinking, I was safe. I remember watching the six o clock news looking at disasters occurring right in front of my eyes. I thought that would never happen to me. I would never be put in a situation like that, but how terribly wrong I was.

Now I sit on the edge of the sofa and can barely concentrate on reading my book. I jump with fright and the breeze blows violently outside and bashes against the window cell. Then the rain thuds down making no effort to make a beat, it just pounds down, drop by drop, the sound frightens me as it reminds me of my wardrobe door opening and closing. Mum bangs pots and pans around in the kitchen as my heart pounds harder, thinking another earthquake is coming. I can’t bring myself to look out the window. Roar, groan, I hear a plane nosily fly above my house, it reminds me of the roar, the roar that comes before and earthquake.

Now I live in fear and I know that my life will never be the same again.

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