“Did you hear what happened in Fiji?” Harriet’s best friend Phyllis asked via cellphone.
“No, what happened?” Harriet nervously inquired, knowing it had to be bad news from the sound of Phyllis’s quivering voice.
“There was an earthquake,” she managed to say.
“How bad?” Harriet asked.
“From what I hear, very bad.”
“Let me try calling Seth,” Harriet said, immediately releasing the call. With shaking fingers, she speed-dialed her grown son. Couldn’t get through.
The news on television was sketchy. The only solid information was that a major earthquake hit the Fiji islands, and fatalities numbered in the hundreds. An hour later, CNN had more to offer: Buildings had collapsed, schools were decimated, one small hospital had disintegrated. Cameras caught shell-shocked survivors ambling aimlessly.
Harriet sipped chamomile tea and tried calling her son every ten minutes. Not only was the line dead, she couldn’t get any concrete information. “Oh Lenny,” she cried out to her late husband, “I wish you were here. Please come back for one lousy day!”
During her sleepless night, Harriet baked: banana bread, bundt cakes, chocolate cookies. This calmed her considerably and supplied her with a deliciously sweet breakfast.
By morning, the death toll had risen to over two thousand. Later that afternoon, a postcard featuring a colorful, breathtaking sunset arrived in Harriet’s mailbox. It read: