We returned to the Mid-County station. Danny went to the storage closet and retrieved a white jumpsuit. He handed it to me and urged me to change out of my traumatized clothes and into the clean garment. The power was still off at the station, and it was raining again, great wet streaks of water, silver in the dim light from the open bay doors, but the wind was quiet and so was the radio.

We stood just inside the doors and stared at the rain. Gifre said we were waiting for instructions from the sheriff's office to complete a house-to-house search down in Edwardsville in case there were any casualties there who hadn't gotten out or needed shelter. We got word that there were sandwiches, sodas, and coffee waiting for us at the Glebe Point firehouse, so we piled into an ambulance and rode back down the stormy road.

I still wonder where the sandwiches came from. There were only two firemen present at the Glebe Point station; they were busy at the pool table and didn't look like they were the kind to prepare sandwiches. On second thought, the sandwiches were squished and damp, so maybe those guys fixed them after all, or maybe they were left over from the 4th of July events a couple of weeks before. They weren't too satisfying as sandwiches go, but I certainly appreciated the gesture.

We hung out at Glebe Point until Gifre heard that our services were no longer needed. We drove back to Heathsville. Along the way, we saw a couple of power company trucks, pulling trailers loaded with poles and headed toward Edwardsville. There was no other traffic. A grey dawn was shedding light over the landscape, which looked unsettlingly normal, as though the night's events had been nothing more than a big thunderstorm.

We dispersed from the station to our own homes. A cat on the back porch watched me back my car into Ted's and my garage. Another cat greeted me as I walked into the house. I climbed the steps to the kitchen, where Ted whistled as he prepared his breakfast, just as he always does. The power was back on at our house. A few lights were on and music played on the sound system. Ted asked me how the call went, just the way he always did. I threw my soiled duty clothes into the washing machine and said I'd tell him all about it after I had a shower.

I can't explain why, but I wept in the shower. I was weary and disturbed by the normalcy of my surroundings. It felt like the world had gone mad the night before and I couldn't reconcile the lack of chaos, injury, and insanity in Ted's and my safe, light, intact, and dry house. For some reason, it was not at all comforting.

After I cleaned up, I visited with Ted and then sacked out on the sofa, my radio close at hand. Through a fitful nap, I heard dispatch advising something about the Red Cross and a helicopter that would arrive shortly, bearing Virginia's governor. I calmed down as the new July day progressed, muggy and hot.