Fire Proof

March 10, 2011
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There was some ash involved, and a whole lot of smoke. In the end there was just soot and rubble and a few tears. But it all started with a match. It’s funny really, because it ended that way, too.
I struck it on my teeth, as I’ve seen in movies. Reaching across the pre-set table with his favorite placemats, the dull orange ones that looks like the tree in our backyard, I lit a candle. The oven alerted me that the stew was ready, and I rushed to tend to it. I almost burnt myself hoisting the forty-pound pot onto the counter, but finally I found my grip. His flight landed an hour ago, so I was expecting for him to be unlocking our bright red door in ten minutes tops.
Soon the stew was in a bowl on the table, the candles lit and the fireplace warming the room with a cherry glow. His keys clicked against each other as he searched for the right one. It slid into the lock, and with a tired air, the door was pushed open. I heard his bags drop as I twisted my wedding ring.
He steeped into the hall following the familiar basil scent and candles into the dining room. A smile simultaneously bloomed across his jetlagged face and my freckled one. He stepped forward and I practically sprinted into his arms. He had left too soon and had been gone too long. Following the wonderfully extended greeting as we breathed each other in after the other’s painfully long absence, we sat down at the dinner table.
At regular intervals he slid heaping spoonfuls into his mouth- it was his favorite dish- as his matching wedding band flashed in the candlelight. I couldn’t stop smiling if I tried. We spent the whole meal catching up. I told him of the terribly cheesy musical I saw with my sister, and he recalled his adventure trying to locate the bank in Tokyo.
I stood up and cleared the empty bowls, placing them in the dishwasher after rinsing. I grabbed the chocolate dipped coconut macaroons and returned to the table. He almost ate five before I even sat down, feeling gratitude beyond words for the homemade dessert. I quickly excused myself to grab the coffee I had made earlier.
A tangy smell blasted me like a bullet, and I knelt down and cried inside. His unpleasant habit left the carpets smelling for days. He usually only smoked his Cuban cigars outside with his father, laughing on the patio about insane faces that golfers make while hitting with the wedge club. My good mood tainted with the smoke from his cigar, I returned to the kitchen.
Then I smelled something stronger, something more potent than just his cigar. I bit my knuckle with my ring on it, hard too. I raced into the dinning room and shrieked as the ashes grew to more than just ashes as the Moroccan rug erupted into flames. The fire alarm began blaring, a sound looking back I can only classify as obnoxious and mocking. The carpet was highly flammable.
I watched in horror as a thick cloud of smoke formed at the ceiling. The flames lapped at the ebony table, jumping onto the pool-table-green curtains. Between the opaque smoke filling the room and the haze obscuring my mind, it took a moment for my adrenalin to kick in. As the temporary energy flowed through me, I caught a flash of gold: his wedding ring. It wasn’t flammable like everything else in the room. Neither was the fire extinguisher I snatched from under the sink a few steps away. No, that was quite fireproof as well. But he wasn’t.





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chasincal said...
Mar. 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm
Great story!
 
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