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The Fires had Just Started: Part 2

By Billy | January 4, 2010

Fire burns, and fire hurts.  Miss Hannah told me about God’s fire in the Moses’s book of exodus.  God’s fire didn’t consume anything.  There wasn’t even smoke.

My fire made smoke, and noise, and heat, and light.   It was difficult to be mad at fire… the beauty it poured out.  My fire did consume.

She told me the fire was easy to forgive because of how similar I was to it.  She wanted to watch us grow and spread our light everywhere, even if it caused a snatch or two along the way.  I can see the similarities, as everything I touch seems to turn to ash.  Dark and useless.  Spent.

I stayed alone for a long time after that first fire.  I was ashamed and more than a little scared to do more wrong, but I genuinely didn’t feel like I wanted to go out anymore.  When I once felt compelled to venture as far as I could in a single day, I now felt like sipping tea and sweeping floors.  While I once wandered into enchanted castles and adventured with fairies, I explored Miss Hannah’s basement and garage.  The cool air in her own home pleased me more than all the outdoor air for a while.  Her home began to feel like my home.  Her family began to feel like my family.

We became effective cohabitants.  We cleaned, danced, spoke, set tables, and fought with the precision, practice, and pride of a marvelous pair of ballet dancers.  Everything flowed so naturally that I forget when we first established the complex rituals we engaged in.  The only forced things between us seemed to be the hugs and when she’d ask me about my past.  She was an beautifully paged, open book.  I was a reader, ready to soak her in.  (My book was closed for her)

The second fire happened in the crawlspace one day while I was helping with spring cleaning.  As the smoke poured out of the little square in the wall, Miss Hannah started screaming like I’ve never heard before.  She wasn’t angry, she was scared.  Miss Hannah has never showed me fear at all.  She defied logic with the speed at which she came into the crawlspace.

“Thanks for getting me out of there, Miss Hannah, but I don’t think it was such an emergency that you needed to push me out so roughly,” I said amidst childish chuckling.

She was still in the space even when I had finished my laughter and speaking.  I began to get worried.  I thought she might be trying to make me feel bad, perhaps playing a trick on me.  As I peered in, through the smoke which had thinned out, what I first thought were embers remaining on the dirt turned out to be her eyes, getting closer… quickly!

Hannah slammed her body into mine as she threw one foot in front of the other and ran upstairs with a small wooden box in her arms.  I followed her cautiously and peered into her cracked bedroom door.  She walked manically, speaking in hushed tones to herself as she turned on the water in the shower.  Once I heard her get into the shower, I walked in and found that smoky little wooden box under her bed.  It was slightly charred and very, very much locked.


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