The boys are outside with Collin playing in the sand piles with their trucks, so I swing my leg over the board that is blocking the stairs and climb down. I haven't been in the basement for awhile, since most of the work has been occurring upstairs, or on the roof, lately. It is chilly down here, now that the floor system is on very little sun makes it into these rooms, so I pull my coat around me and walk around aimlessly.
In the spare bedroom I can see the old concrete block walls that still exhibit soot damage and scrapes across the floor from the bucket of the backhoe as he tore up the carpeting. The walls are all studded out so I climb through to the family room. It'll be awhile before we can afford to finish this off. We had just finished the old family room, so this makes us sad, but we have plans and I can visualize the bar and sofa sectional and wood burning stove as if they are already there. I walk to the back corner, the southeastern most tip of the house, and stand in the room that is currently up for debate. A play room for the kids or Mom's craft room? There is nice natural light in here so obviously I'm gunning for the latter.
I walk back through the family room to the north side of the basement, which will once again house our storage area and work-out room. I stand in the middle of the old concrete slab, there are red stains on the floor that resemble blood. Paint stains from canisters that fell and spilled that night; but in a way the look of blood is more fitting. This is where it all started.
Right here is where the computer was hooked up. Right here is where that first spark ignited. I spin in a circle looking all around me, feeling it, seeing it. It's as if I am standing in the mouth of a beast. I can see the red flames circling, circling, gaining momentum and I want to kick that fucking beast in the head.
YOU STOLE EVERYTHING, YOU MOTHERFUCKER!
You took my kids growth charts with the little notches marked every six months. You took their baptism blanket, the one that had been handmade and I planned to pass down to our children's children, and their hospital footprints from the day they were born. You took all of our honeymoon pictures and mementos of our last seven years together. You killed our cat.
YOU KILLED OUR CAT, YOU PIECE OF SHIT!
Suddenly I hear a sound coming from deep within me and I realize I am crying. This is my first time being down here alone.
It's all gone, and the events of that night started right here, right where I'm standing.
Of course, that's not entirely true. It didn't take everything.
I'm reminded of that every night as I watch them in the dark, their chests moving up and down with each breath, their eyes closed tight and their sweet little hands curled up by their faces. I thank God each night that they are here and that their baby brother is kicking furiously inside. And then I whisper to Collin, "goodnight."
With the exception of Sophie, it didn't really take anything.