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The Fires had Just Started: Part 3

By Billy | January 11, 2010



My pants, my hands, my face, her bed skirt, that enigmatic little box.  My fingerprints made smudgy little guilty eggs wherever I roamed that day.  She was in enough of a tiff for some reason that she think to make me bathe, I am always so manic after a fire, I couldn’t let myself simmer in the washroom.  Not today.  Not with the one, solitary, lonely thing in the house, with a lock (and certainly a key) waiting to be liberated.

I still loathed the vulnerability I’d come to feel outside, but found comfort and distraction sitting in my room. biding my time.  Thinking of ways to open that box.  Thinking of when to open that box.  Thinking of where to open that box.

Mania is something I’m not accustomed to.  Mania in the midst of lethargy is unexpected, welcomed, overpowering, exhausting.

I woke up around noon the next day.  My walls were covered with sooty fingerprints.  My face stung.  My body ached.  I awoke on my floor, with my floor rug lazily covering the lower half of my achy body.  I must have passed out.  I should maybe clean these walls.

Hannah Nathan.  She is a river of forgiveness and patience.  I emerged from my sun room to find her preparing a sandwich for me.  “I was juss’a bout to wake you up, mister.  Long night, indeed?”  She asked, but she really told.  Half way through my sandwich I realized she was talking about her more than about me.

Mrs. Nathan’s box was perhaps the most focused on thing in the history of everything.  I neither ate nor breathed without it on my mind.  It sat waiting, nestled under the spare blankets beneath her creaky bed.

I pretended to busy myself with cleaning the soot off my walls while waiting for the right moment.  It came shortly after our eerily silent afternoon tea.  While she cooked supper, I would tried to open it.

By the time she came in to tell me about supper’s readiness, I had practically set up camp on her bedroom floor.  My multi-purpose pocketknife lay discarded to my side, many of the tools bent or broken, a spoon I had taken from the drawer sat precariously on the edge of the bed, bent fully in half.  I had nearly opened it when I realized, to my horror, that she was standing in the doorway, watching me fiddle with her treasure chest in the dying sunlight of her solitary bedroom window.  The box was small enough for me to consume it in a full fledged bear hug, which I did promptly and began to run, hoping to slip right past her.

I was caught red handed, I was bad, I was confused.  I don’t know why I obsessed about that box, I don’t know what I was holding at the time, I don’t know where I was intending on going with it, but I knew I wanted in.  She seized me in a furious moment of desperation.  I think it was her elbow that found my face, perhaps her hip bone.  We piled on top of each other, the three of us.  We fought like bandits.  I don’t know where I was clawing at, I don’t know how I was held down, I don’t know what struck me where…  I don’t think anything in the world would have stopped me from fighting her.  Nothing in the world but the sound of the contents of that box breaking apart and kissing each other with the haunting beautiful jingle of entropy in action.  I closed my eyes and thought, nay, wished I had died.


more later.

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