(based on Genesis 7—a story of creation)
I'd like to think someone, some two or more said yes they would join Noah and his family on the ark. The way the story has been handed down to us leaves just enough room to imagine this possibility, even though the Bible does not explicitly say so.
Or maybe no one came, and the purpose of the story is to make us feel a profound sense of loss, a loss that we often don't feel because we too value our neighbors so little that as long as they are just there somewhere we don't think much of them.
The rains fell... and kept falling. Noah found his way back to the ark and joined his family. The look on his face was enough to break even the most jaded heart. Everyone rushed to line the interior of the door with pitch to keep water out.
The waters rose more quickly than anyone had imagined. Scripture says, "On that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened." Eventually the ark began to creak as it lurched to one side in its docking restraints. Everything that wasn't nailed down shifted and slid. Everyone was glad they had taken Nitzan's advice to store things in bins anchored to the floor. The ship pitched again and broke free from dry dock. They were now adrift.
The way the story is traditionally embellished, by now people had made their way to the ship and were banging with all their might on the outside trying to get Noah's family's attention. In that telling of the story, these who had once mocked Noah, the old kook with his apocalyptic delusions, were now begging to get inside. When I hear that, as one of Noah's sons, I'm immediately bounding to the outer deck, tying a rope around my waste and the shorter end around a sturdy post then venturing out on deck and casting the length of the rope overboard for anyone who can grab hold. I couldn't be satisfied with my own safety inside: at least, I don't want to be a person who could.
I don't know how one should best imagine that part of the story. What I do know for sure for the first time in my life is that Noah's family's first night on the ark adrift was not a happy one. No one was thinking, "At least we're safe." Everyone of them, if they are meant to be anything like the Elohim who loved enough to plan in advance a means of salvation for them, cried their own flood of tears for the lives lost that day.