LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Two nights ago, I headed down to the basement bedroom to sleep. I’d been hit by a nasty summer cold and didn’t want my coughing to wake my slumbering husband William. So I cuddled up with my old teddy bear Hilda, who lives downstairs, and finally fell asleep.
I was awakened by the sound of water running and thought William must be taking a shower before heading to work. I stretched in bed, my throat sore, my sinuses clogged. But he needed lunch so I got up and checked the clock. 2:57, it read.
“That’s strange, must be wrong,” I thought to myself. So I checked the other clock in the basement, only to find it was, in fact, almost 3 in the morning. But the water, the shower, it was still running, wasn’t it? How could that make sense? Was William sick?
So I ran upstairs, the darkness in the house made velvety by the fact that I didn’t have my glasses on. I got to the base of the stairs leading to the second floor, and heard that the water was even louder. I grabbed the banister and propelled myself upstairs. When I got to the bathroom and turned the light on, I saw the toilet had turned into a fountain, the small kind they put in decorative pools in malls to make shoppers feel like things are fancy. Except this wasn’t fancy, boy, not one bit.
“What the bleep?” I yelled and rushed to turn off the valve at the base of the toilet.
A thick blanket of water was stretching across the floor, extending like syrup into the hallway. I grabbed a towel and it sank, yes sank, into the depths. By then William, who had been sleeping all along, ran upstairs to find out what was wrong. Then he automatically, silently turned, truly pivoted 180 degrees, and ran downstairs to get the Shop-Vac. In the meantime, I ran to the basement to get the old, ugly towels I keep in the laundry room. I flew back upstairs and by then the kitchen, well, it had started raining in the kitchen. As Wm sucked the water up upstairs, I started soaking up the water that was streaming through our hood fan, from the pot lights, down our cupboards.