There was a night, early in our marriage, when we both thought we were going to die.
We lived on the top floor of a brownstone in Brooklyn, but there was no separation between our apartment and the rest of the home- owned by one wealthy family. The apartment was long- a railroad apartment I guess- and we could close the bedroom door and living room door and walk a narrow hallway in between those, but the main hall by the stairs, kitchen, and bathroom were exposed.
Well, one night, you heard our landlord call out, “Dan…call the police!” after we heard some knocking at the front door.
Actually his wife had a similar nickname and he was speaking to her, but we thought he was yelling up to you. So…we called 911.
But first, we closed our bedroom door and living room door, and began pushing furniture up against the doors. We were scared- we had a horrible feeling that something terrible was happening right below us. Before we barricaded ourselves in though, you had gone to get a butcher knife. It was a scary thing seeing you holding that while we pushed furniture up against the door. I was on with the 911 operator telling her about the situation, and then finally I leaned out the window and saw the police downstairs…they were at the house but now they were already leaving…but we didn’t understand what was happening. I remember opening the window and calling out weakly, “Help!” I told the operator I might jump if they didn’t come back. She said something like, “Well, don’t do that honey.”
Well, while I was still on with her, you got a call from the landlord explaining that everything was alright and that some deaf man had come to the door- the door knob was broken (yeah, sucky landlord), and been able to come in. He had gotten scared and asked his wife to call the police, but later the deaf man somehow explained that he had been looking for another house and had the wrong address. Now, who knows if this is really true or our landlord just got taken for a total ride. At any rate, I asked you to go down and just make sure he was OK and not being held at knifepoint or something while you were on the phone with him and he was telling you all was well. You did. He was OK.
That night, even though it was late, we got online and planned a trip to Paris in the spring- for my 30th birthday, but also just because…life seemed short.
And I remember you saying to me, “I thought about what might happen to you…and I got the knife.” We both agreed we would’ve died for each other and that we had both had the same thought, “Is This How it All Ends?”
Those words come back to me a lot since you died…and I think, “No, Dan- this is how it all ends. But it does, it does end.
I wish planning a trip to Paris or a night of holding each other close could comfort us now.