May 3rd, 2016.
It was just another day, like most other days. I had just woken up and finally found the energy to get up. “Kevin, do you wanna go outside?” I asked as I lazily walked towards the door. An equally lazy miniature schnauzer emerged from under a pile of blankets. He stared at me for a second before getting up to show of his flawless downward facing dog stretch. “Let’s go Kev.”
Kevin obliged and followed me through the door. He stood around for a bit and decided to smell the air and I groggily grumbled. I was being impatient because I also needed to pee.
Finally, he lifts one of his hind legs and decided it was a good day to pee on the empty propane tank next to the grill. He mused at his work for a moment, sniffed around and was satisfied.
I looked up the sky–fiery orange. I thought it looked pretty. The colour was interesting. I expected nothing less from the Albertan sky. My train of thought was interrupted when I heard people yelling. Not angrily or anything, just yelling as if hey were trying to talk from opposite ends of the street. I noticed that our relatively quiet street sounded busier than usual and I wondered if there was a holiday that I was forgetting about.
Kevin and I went back inside the house. Finally, I could pee. I was happy.
As I walked back to the living room, I heard more movement and loud conversations outside. (Being a reclusive hermit, I’m gravely aware of human activity–especially when it feels out of the ordinary.)
I walked towards the window and peered through makeshift curtains–two quilted blankets. I was greeted by the same orange sky and quite a bit of smoke.
I heard there was a forest fire that’s been going for a couple of days, but with long dry winters quickly followed by scorching hot weather, I’d been told forrest fires were pretty common around our area. We just got back from a trip a couple of days before and I hadn’t found my bearings just yet. I was sure the fire was nothing to be worried about though.
What intrigued me were the people. I’d never seen my street that busy in the middle of the day. So like a creep, I continued watching from the window. There was a short line of cars leaving a nearby apartment building. A guy probably in his mid-twenties carried a backpack and a gym bag as he walked along the sidewalk. He seemed to be waiting for his ride. A car passed by–a young family with a toddler and a baby with bags packed in the back. I stood there for probably about five minutes, just watching people come and go. What was happening? Something felt off. Once in awhile, the smoky orange sky would catch my attention and I’d think, This can’t be because of the fire, right? Nah, it can’t be.