Friday night I decided to stay in and have a quiet night at home. Things have been hectic lately, and I needed a night of peace. At 12:15 I was just thinking of heading to bed, when I heard a horrible series of crashes and blood curdling screams. I ran down our hall, dialing 911 as I did, sure a drunk neighbor had fallen down the stairs to the roof. But when I opened the door, there was no one there. But the screams and now crying continued. And as they say in the horror films, suddenly I realized the screams were coming from my own apartment. The skylight in our bedroom. Oh. My. God.
With true dread, I opened our bedroom door. But all I saw was a young girl sitting on the floor of our bedroom, on top of a bit of laundry, crying hysterically. But there were shards of plexiglass everywhere. And a gaping hole where our skylight used to be. The young girl (drunk - duh) had stepped back onto the skylight, and fallen 12-14 feet to the floor of our bedroom. Truthfully, I expected to see blood and a horror scene of mangled limbs but instantly it was clear that, though she probably had some broken bones, she was alive, breathing, evening moving a bit. 20 panicked/hysterical friends of hers and 10-12 (I lost count) emergency personnel in our apartment later (not to mention, according to another neighbor, the entire street being blocked off for over an hour), she was taken out on a big stretcher.
Before that, though, in the midst of all the chaos, came the dreaded question from the cops: â€œWhose apartment is this?â€? I reluctantly raised my hand. I was then told I had to â€œcome out in the hall and talk to the big bossâ€?. The big boss turned out to be a very small woman cop. She was very stern.
Officer: Is this your apartment?
Officer: And this is your party?
She then looked at me really closely and realized what I was wearing â€“ pajamas.
Officer: So you were just sitting at home in your pajamas and then a girl fell through your ceiling?
The cop then started laughing really hard, and then I started laughing really hard, I mean it was absurd!
She and I went upstairs and continued the conversation while staring through the gapping hole in the skylight, watching the paramedics strap the girl to a board.
And then, as quickly as it had all started it was over, and I was alone in our apartment. Brent, our sweet neighbor from next door, came over and had a glass of wine with me (I needed a drink at this point) while I waited for C to get home.
C was a total hero and taped up the ceiling and cleaned up all the mess while I called Jon Levin (who is on the lease) in Portland. I slept fitfully.
The next day the doorbell rings. C opens it and sees two young girls. One of them is holding a dozen roses in a lovely vase. She says, â€œHi, my name is Ania and I fell through your roof last night. Iâ€™m so sorryâ€?. (not a sentence you ever think youâ€™ll hear in life).
And hereâ€™s the thing â€“ SHE IS FINE. Completely fine. Not a scrape. Not a single bruise. Saved no doubt by the very alcohol that sent her plummeting. Her butt was a little sore. That was it. No one could believe it â€“ no the paramedics and cops or the guy who did the MRI or the guys who x-rayed her entire body. She walked away. A miracle.
The two girls (my neighbor whose party it was also came up) were lovely. Very apologetic and sweet and mortified and offering to pay for everything. We showed her where she fell. Piecing together what she remembers with what I heard and what the guy who was talking to her on the roof and saw her drop into nothing heard, we think she fell and at first hit our dresser (unfortunately pulverizing our desk fan in the process â€“ the fan was one of the few casualties of the event), then fell to the floor. Like me, she remembers a one, two, three (skylight, dresser, floor). We hugged. She was visiting from Australia for a few weeks â€“ doesnâ€™t even live in NY.
As I said to both her and the cops, “You gotta love New York City.”
P.S. This morning when we came out there were cops everywhere and an ambulance with a guy strapped to a stretcher â€“ only this time it was just a movie shoot.