To Burn

November 20, 2010
By shannonbresnahan SILVER, Colfax, California
shannonbresnahan SILVER, Colfax, California
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments


It can symbolize many things; anger, passion, danger. But none of these come to mind for me, because all I can remember is how safe I felt in the presence of those beautiful, yet deadly flames. Singing campfire songs, telling stories, laughing and dancing as the flame taunted me to come closer and feel its warmth. As I sat on my father’s lap and listened to his booming laugh, I felt safe. The smoke stung my eyes and the sparks drifted onto my clothes, but I could not look away from the splendor as those flames danced seductively on each gust of wind.

It soothed me to reminisce over these beautiful clear nights, to remember how the starry night sky shone through the whispering smoke. How could something so lethal make me feel such peace? But now, it is all gone. Those nights of sitting at the campfire with my father are no more. All I can do is muse over how wonderful my life was then and how desolate and baron my life is now. But- if only I had a way to relive those memories, feel what it is like to be a child again. This house is bleak. There is no sound of my father’s booming laughter, no crackle of the embers on the fireplace, no happiness at all.

I can recall watching my father magically create those burning flames that lit up the backyard. All he needed to create inner bliss was some kindling, one tiny match, and a little gasoline--and that was all I needed. These material objects- clothes, old photos, furniture- were my kindling. This gasoline was the next step to feeling the harmony that had been forgotten so long ago. And this match, this tiny stick, would forever give me the safety I need to feel.

As I light the match, the room instantaneously bursts into flame. No turning back now- the door is locked and the windows are barred shut. But why would I want to? Here I can dance as the flares of light lick at my feet, bowing down and worshipping me as I give them all of my love. I feed the fire, throwing off my unneeded clothes, tossing old papers in the air to fall to their doom, letting it taste and devour my hair and my skin. Burns spread on my body and the sores hurt, but it is alright, because now I feel safe. My windows shatter from the immense heat and I feel a different kind of pain, the kind created by glass splinters burrowing into my feet.

To become one with fire, to feel its uncontained power of destruction, was now more than I could ever endure. As the blisters grew I felt the longing to become one with the rest of its destruction, to become nothing but ashes resting on the ground and floating in the wind. To have my body spread all over this city, and to be one with everything in it.

And when I reach hell- if there is a hell- I can dance around the fiery heat and feel its protection from all of the monsters it threatens away. Oh to be in hell- with its waterfalls of lava and geysers of fire. To feel its molten rock burning through the soles of my feet- maybe this is what I wanted all along. Maybe I am already there.

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