I have thought about my death many times. (I mean, not an abnormal amount of time, the type that might require professional help, but plenty.) In all my imaginings, I never saw myself smothered by a rented bouncy house, surrounded by the moans of my family.
My imaginings were always more....gauzy. A small funeral filled with loved ones and former students wailing discreetly and crying elegantly, listening to some of my favorite songs, and planning to build and dedicate a dog rescue center in my honor. You know, something reasonable like that.
I don't know how my loved ones would have pulled off that kind of occasion had I been buried alive by mildewed, stinking canvas walls. I mean, at least I would have died with Mr. F. So romantic. Like our own Titanic love story. But smellier. And a very undignified end.
Anywho, moments earlier I'd been racing and flopping about happily, after finally talking Mr. F into trying the bounce house that had been rented for my nephew's birthday. E., my niece, joined us in the house. Too soon, we heard a hissing and Dale (AKA Mr. F) shouted, "We need to get out. NOW."
E., who is four and wiggly and fast-moving, complied immediately. I, however, lay there unable to stand or even crawl, so paralyzed was I by my fear of suffocation. The walls kept closing in. And the roof, too. I did not see a way out, even with Mr. F tried pushing me towards the grapefruit-sized opening of the house. It's like I was stuck in the stickiest mud pit ever.
It grew darker and darker and the two of us more and more smothered by the fabric, until finally, someone lifted the bottom. Sunshine and air poured in and I saw my father's bright purple shirt, a beacon and my salvation. I scrambled for it. And he saved me. As he has many times before.
Dad later assured me that he had his "pigsticker" (pocketknife) on him and his next step would have been to cut us out of our binding. But while everyone else milled around the back of the sunken house (????), he, as usual, took care of business.
I have always looked up to my father. Still do. That day, I literally looked up to him and he showed me the way to oxygen (definitely on my top ten list of favorites), one of just so many small things he's given me.
Disclaimer: I definitely felt terrified, but probably would have passed out from lack of oxygen, rather than died. In the moment, though, reason deserted me.