Francie Craig is a Stage 3 English literature student at Canterbury University and a boarding house manager at St Margaret’s College in Christchurch. As well as writing she loves to mosaic in her spare time.
Do you know that painting? The one with the clocks melting like lava in a lamp? Well it was like that. Everything, the trees, the houses, the grass, the brick wall started to melt around me. And then my knees began to sway. 'Oh God this is it. This is an eight. This is the alpine fault. Right the best plan is to get to the middle of the road away from falling buildings.' I look over my shoulder. No cars. I move towards the road but I’m drunk in my movements. I’m like a newborn deer with knocky, knobbly knees. I feel my legs buckling. I crouch on the curb and watch the square wall become a sphere; globing towards me. Earthquake.
I stand up. The ground is still for now. I’d better find my cell phone. Mum and Dad will be worried. I run into Winchester House and there is a paler version of my colleague standing in the doorway.
“Shit what was that?”
“I don’t know.”
I open my bedroom door. There is dirt everywhere. My pot plants are smashed. My heaters are dangling from the ceiling. I can’t find my phone. I feel bad in here. This room makes me panic. My colleague tries to call my phone but it is not connecting. I look at her.
“Shit, shit, shit. Let’s get out of here.”
We go down to the day school. Girls are crying. I search for my girls and I hug them and tell them that this is the one time it is okay to swear at school. If they had heard me a moment ago I would have been on ‘duties’ for a week. This makes them laugh through the tears, well some of them anyway.
I run down to the end of the school to check on the other boarding house manager and her family. Her babies, thank goodness, are in the car.
“How much more can we take? People won’t be able to do this anymore,” she says. I hug her.
“It’s okay,” I say. But I don’t know then that for some people it is not.
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Deborah thanks Rangimarie Kelly and Pikau Digtal for website design and artist Karen Jarvis for her image ‘Writers at the Devonport Library,’ (2023)