It was a murky, gloomy Monday evening. Rain belched down from the sky in great greasy globs, slapping into the ground with inelegant heaves. The sky was black.
I was completing an assignment for a professional development class on teaching kindergarten, which is to say, I was probably cutting out little shapes out of felt or thinking about how best to provoke children into using Venn diagrams. An email popped up: a school interested in an interview. And not just any school–the one in China where my friend works, the one in China I had already visited, the one in China I had written into the margins of my trapper keeper with little pink hearts all around it.
I sat in front of my computer for several minutes, contemplating how quickly I could reply without seeming desperate. My will-power allowed me exactly 19 minutes and 47 seconds, and suddenly I had an interview scheduled for days later.
Simultaneously, a gurgle emerged from the basement, several floors below. It sounded like the splash of water needing to be bailed, of a boat sloshing about in a slick black ocean during a storm. This was, of course, problematic, as our house was typically landlocked. I rose briskly and rushed to the basement to discover that the entire thing had flooded with roughly 30 centimetres worth of backwashed sewage.
I surged bravely into the deeps to rescue the power bar of the computer and the modem from total submersion, and hid them in a high place. In the bottom of our sudden submarine, water was now tickling halfway up my shins, and I refused to look at either the colour or texture of it.
Our power miraculously stayed on for several hours, at which point it zipped into silence and black for the rest of the night. Soupy heat was already filtering into our walls, and while the water down below was thankfully sinking back from whence it came, the carpets still swelled and bubbled with torrents of sewage lodged into every fibre. Placing one be-shoed foot on the basement level caused a burp of fluid to emerge, and so we decided to simply pretend we no longer had a basement and that no one would go down there.