Thursday, May 18, 2006


Bringing up my son, Paul, alone wasn't easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. He has severe learning difficulties and quite honestly, when he was younger it was a matter of blink and he'd be up to something, and more often than not that something would be something dangerous. This particular story is about one such incident.

Paul was about 10 at the time, Inger Lise was 2 and I was about 8 months pregnant with Linn Marie. A friend had been visiting that evening so it was quite late when I finally got to bed having first checked on the children. They were both sleeping soundly. Or so I thought.

I've no idea how long I'd been asleep when the sound of the phone ringing woke me. A quick glance at the alarm clock told me it was 3am and, tired as I was, decided there was no way I was getting out of my nice warm bed to answer the phone. Whoever it was could ring back in the morning.

But the ringing persisted and gradually pushed the fuzziness of sleep away from me, leaving me realising that anybody who phoned at that time of the morning must surely have something important to say. I pulled the quilt back, slid out of bed and padded out into the hall.

The first thing that met me was smoke! Lots of it! I dashed into the living room and to my horror, the carpet and the clothes that I had hung to dry in front of the fire were on fire. The flames on the carpet were moving quickly towards me, cutting off my path to the kitchen and, more importantly, Inger Lise's bedroom so I had to act quickly.

Everything became a haze. I don't remember being in the kitchen getting water, and I don't remember throwing it over the carpet. I just remember kneeling on the carpet, sobbing as a mixture of fear and relief rushed through me, and coughing because of the smoke I'd inhaled.

When I turned around, Paul was standing in the door opening. I knew immediately what had happened. He'd been playing with the fire.

Unfortunately, apart from a couple of electric heaters that I'd set up, the paraffin fire was the only way of heating the flat. And in the midst of a Norwegian winter, heat isn't something you can go without.

Paul hadn't meant to do anything wrong, he just didn't understand the consequences of his actions. He'd got up during the night and been fascinated by the fire. He'd put paper on to it, watched it burn, and then pulled it out again, dropping it onto the carpet. When the carpet started to burn, he'd panicked and gone back to bed.

To this day I'm grateful to whomever it was who called me that night, although I never found out who it was. I asked friends and family; nobody had called. A wrong number? Maybe. I don't suppose I'll ever find out now but what I do know is that without the phone ringing, it's very doubtful that I'd be here now to tell the tale.



At 7:01 pm, May 23, 2006, Blogger Teapot said...

i believe in miracles. and i believe in fate. and if i didnt believe in it, this would certainly make me a believer.

At 9:03 am, May 24, 2006, Anonymous Sharon J said...

Hi Teapot. I certainly believe I have a Guardian Angel looking over me as there have been far too many incidents in my life that could have gone very wrong but didn't. In fact, my mum's so sure I have a GA that she's bought me a pair of earrings depicting tiny angels.

I know many would say that if I really had a GA then these things wouldn't have happened in the first place, but I don't believe that. I don't believe they stop events from happening, but they can step in and guide you through them.

Maybe I'm nuts, but it helps me to believe :-)


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