My husband said, I'm going to head out for maariv. I opened my mouth to say, okay, and that was when the noise started pouring through the streets, the noise that is so much louder than you think it is going to be. The siren that says that Israeli radar has picked up a Hamas missile, and that missile is heading toward your babies and your husband and you.
We have 120 seconds here, from siren to impact.
The first thing you think when you realize that this is really happening is the kids, the kids, where are the kids? The first thing you do is start to scream their names.
We don't have a safe room. The safest spot in the house is in the front hall, between two supporting walls with a steel beam over them. Barak was there in a flash; we had done a drill at home, they'd done drills at school, and he didn't need to be told. I ran outside in the unearthly noise and screamed to Iyyar, get INSIDE, get INSIDE, and I saw our neighbors, two teenage girls, standing frozen in confusion in the middle of the street. I shouted at them tikansu! tikansu! and they came and sat with Iyyar and there was my husband, Barak, Iyyar, Avtalyon, and I had the baby but oh, my God, where is Marika?
I ran outside screaming Marika! Marika! and my husband took the stairs two at a time shouting Marika! and we couldn't hear anything over the sirens but had it been a minute? A minute and a half? The siren, the siren, and Marika! Marika! Where are you? My husband shouted down, I've got her, and pounded back down the stairs with her in his arms, my little girl who'd fallen asleep before Shabbat in a pile of blankets on her brother's bed, and they dropped down on the floor with the rest of us and I slammed the doors shut
and all of us sat.
And waited for the boom that did not come.