---Just wanted to let you know, this is a non-fiction piece, and this happened when I was 15---
Imagine the worst place you could be during an earthquake. Now imagine you were naked.
April 2015, Nepal.
11: 45, I left my cousin with my laptop, and I promised we’d go get some nuggets and fries when I got out of the shower. 11:56, I was rinsing my hair when I started to feel a little dizzy, and two seconds later I realized the building was shaking. I thought it’d stop soon, so I didn’t freak out until four more seconds had passed. Fuck, I am not gonna run out naked. I was on the third floor of an apartment building, in the shower, and I could see the walls shaking back and forth, and that’s when I knew I was going to die.
Spoiler Alert: I didn’t die. I turned off the water and held on to the shower knob handle because the building was shaking so hard, I was surprised the ceilings hadn’t fallen yet. I was contemplating if I should stay in the bathroom and wait for it to stop, but it feels like it’s already been two minutes and an earthquake shouldn’t last this long. It’s only a number of seconds until this entire building collapses, and tomorrow morning, there’ll be a news that says, “Naked dead body found under a pile of debris and mud”, or grab my towel and run out, but if I let go of this handle, I might fall down, split my head open and die, and the next morning the news will say, “Naked lady found dead in the shower.” I stood there, debating if I should hurry out and slip and die or stay there and die. Why is this not a dream! It reminded me of those annoying Would You Rather questions, and this was “Would you rather go out naked to save your life or die with clothes on?” Only at this moment, I realized I would choose to die fully clothed.
These were my actual thoughts at that moment, but then a more important thought hit me, “Oh, fuck! My cousin.” I realized the 8-year-old boy must’ve been scared considering I was in the bathroom and no one else was at home. After the realization, I wrapped my towel around me and opened the bathroom door where I saw Aadi standing right in front of me, and I could hear my terrified neighbors screaming outside. He looked relieved to see me, and said, “Let’s get out of this building.” I am not going out with a towel on. “I am going to get dressed real quick. Take cover under that table. Don’t go anywhere.” I hastily put on my clothes and when I went outside he was gone. This kid. As I proceeded to walk out of my front door, the building had slowly become motionless, and the earthquake had finally stopped. “Oh, thank god” I sighed with relief. I looked out from the balcony and my cousin was on the ground floor. He saw me and signaled me to get downstairs. I saw ten other neighbors with him, some of them were crying while some were consoling others. I rushed downstairs and hugged him. The neighbors said it’s not safe to go back inside the buildings. My phone was in the house, so we couldn’t contact our family, and my wallet was inside too, “Aw, man. We can’t go get nuggets and fries now?” I said to Aadi, and we laughed. We thought that was the end of the earthquake, and I was getting worried about all the assignments I had to do. I wanna know if the earthquake affected the entire city, or if it was just my area. I want to tell my friends about this crazy experience I just had. I’ll probably get an excuse for not doing my homework.
Little did I know there would be more earthquakes (aftershocks), 38 that very day. The next day I wouldn’t go to school. I wouldn’t go to school for two entire months. I would look at the news the next morning, and I wouldn’t see a “Naked lady dies” headline. I would see that the earthquake was 7.9 Richter scale in magnitude, it had lasted for 40 seconds, and 8,000 people had died across Nepal. And even after more than a year, 459 more aftershocks would follow.
Ps. Please let me know if the first two sentences are funny. Does it sound like forced humor? Please be honest, you are not going to hurt my feelings.