Behka Speaks about the Mark Twain Apartment Fire
I don’t think a lot of you noticed, but I haven’t been posting many blogs this past few days. I’m sure our Blog Boy wants to shake his finger at me for it. But, the reason for that I think is a good one – I’ve undergone a bit of a personal tragedy recently. This may not be easy to read. I know it won’t be easy to write.
I had an apartment in the Mark Twain complex that caught on fire last week. I had lived there since February of this year. First, I’d like to maybe show you a little something about the place, or rather, what my portion of it was like. When I first moved in, I was a little excited to show some friends who lived out of state, so I made a couple of walk through videos.
As you can see, it was a little dirty on the outer vestibule, but otherwise fine. And my apartment itself was pretty good. I have always been nerdy in my decor – but meticulously clean.
I was pretty happy there. I had mementos, I had pictures, I had invested in various things here and there, and most of all, I had my cats. This picture is my favorite.
I know, it makes me sound like a crazy cat lady, but… I can’t help it. I know that I’m grateful for the lack of large human injuries. Please don’t think that I don’t understand that a human life is more important than an animal, so I completely understand why the Fire Department couldn’t break down the door for them. But It’s so sad and tragic that they had to die that way. People tell me that the smoke probably put them to sleep, and they suffocated that way without even feeling it. I can only hope that’s what happened. I don’t want to think of anything worse.
It just annoys and angers me when people say things like, “Oh, that place was trash anyway,” or “It was full of druggies,” “It’s about time,” or whatever it is they say. I had a good place, and I had a good life. And now all of that is gone.
I first heard about it by a listener who called the station and told me about it. I don’t think he knew I lived there. I called my father, waited a minute, and when I didn’t hear anything back from him, I went down there myself. I reported on the scene, thinking that since it was on the opposite side of the building, maybe it could be contained and that the rest of the building would be alright. That was about 4:30 p.m.
By 5 p.m. I had lost hope.
I don’t think I’ve cried that hard since my mother died a few years back. I couldn’t think straight. I didn’t eat for two days. I was at a loss, in denial, and mostly I had no idea what to do.
If I’m honest, I still don’t. Sometimes its almost like I’m fine, and I’m working toward something better, thinking about the future. Sometimes I’m desolate, not able to do anything but sit in the haze of how depressing life seems at the moment.
I know that people have been coming out of the woodwork to help me and the others (that’ll be another post) and I’m grateful for that, but part of me feels like I almost don’t deserve their help. I know that a lot of the others in the building don’t have the job connections or visibility that I do. I feel like I shouldn’t ask for help, that I shouldn’t accept too much from people because this is supposed to be my punishment. Like this was life spanking me to the curb, showing me up for thinking I was doing alright.
I’m sure a lot of this sounds melodramatic and silly, but I can only try to make sense of what it is that I’m feeling and try to communicate that. I think that if I can present one person, one story out of the thirty odd people who lived there, maybe Sedalia will understand a little better, empathize a little more.
And all I’ve got is my story.
Many people have asked to help, many people have helped, many people have reached out. And you can help.
People ask me what I’m going to do now. I don’t know. People ask me if I’ve got a plan to get a new place yet. I don’t know. People ask me if I need anything. I don’t know. People ask me if they can do anything. I don’t know. People ask me if I’m doing alright. I don’t know.
People ask me if I liked the “ghost pictures” taken during the fire. I can tell you that I didn’t like that. I mean, I understand that people are curious, and it’s all about the intrigue of the unknown. But if your house had been destroyed by a tornado, would you want someone taking pictures of the wreckage on your lawn and saying, “Hey, that 2X4 looks like Dezi Arnaz!”? Probably not. I know no disrespect or hurt was meant, but it still stung.
All I know is that this is one of the most difficult things I’ve gone through. My mother’s slow descent from cancer is the only thing I can think of that’s been harder than this. Even my own difficulties with MS haven’t caused me this much grief.
Tomorrow I’d like to talk again to you all and thank people who have helped, and how they’ve helped, and how you can help, if you’ll join me again. I appreciate everything that Sedalia has done and is doing for me and for everyone at Mark Twain. Thank you all so much. I hope that wasn’t too depressing to read.