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FIRE AT THE HOUSE A WHILE AGO MAYBE WHAT?

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I woke up. We were driving down the highway, quickly approaching our destination, our new home. It didn’t feel like it had been a year, but it had. We had only lived in Cleveland for a year, and now we were moving again, just like we had when we left Canton. I could hear the cargo in the back of the moving truck as it slid and rolled back and forth, as if it was trying to escape the journey to its new home. We arrived at the house late. We would begin unpacking the next day, after spending the first night in the empty household.

Morning came quickly, and by the time I went downstairs and outside, the rest of my family was already there, unloading the truck. We unloaded everything, setting everything just inside the house at first, not focusing on where to put the things yet.
Couches, chairs, desks, tables, kitchen appliances, boxes of assorted pencils, pens, markers, oven mitts, silverware, magnets, rugs, carpeting, lamps, extension cords, televisions, video game consoles, pillows, comforters, sheets, drapes, curtains, chandeliers, light switch covers, boxes of matches, flashlights, drills, screwdrivers, hammers, nails, screws, staples, staplers, pencil sharpeners, notebooks, baby gates, cribs, tiles, and a million other things were all taken off of the truck and put into our new home.
“I hope we find space to put all of this crap,’ I told my parents, arms folded, staring at the piles of boxes in the living room.
“That’s what the basement is for,” my mom replied, in a way where I couldn’t tell if she was joking or not.
The next few weeks were spent unpacking what seemed like hundreds upon hundreds of boxes, putting things in temporary spots, and throwing seasonal things, as well as things that didn’t have a spot yet, into the basement crawlspace. Furniture was moved constantly in the first few months, my parents never figuring out, as I saw it, that the two chairs should clearly go next to the desk along the wall, with the couches facing opposite each other on either of the other two walls.
Food always seemed to be a problem as well in the first couple of months. My mother had organized and reorganized the cupboard, in addition to the cabinets and fridge, nearly 100 times. Apparently with a new house you have to find a new way to organize your food, too. I preferred the old way, personally. To this day, I still have trouble remembering what food goes where when we return from the grocery store.
Fast-forward a bit. The years went on in our new house, and we all slowly but surely adapted and adjusted to our new surroundings. Everything was pretty normal. My sisters and I went to school, my parents to work. One fall, though, something exciting actually happened. Of course, if you’re idea of “exciting” is helping to put out a fire in your bathroom, then this story is quite exciting. If that is not what you consider exciting, then stop reading now.
It all happened at thanksgiving one year, a while back. Dinner was over, and everyone was just kind of sitting around, watching football and what not. As the afternoon pressed on, and we all started making our way back into the kitchen for more food, my young cousin, let’s call him “James”, slowly walked into the living room, and, very calmly and without panic, whispered something to his mother, my aunt, and just as she heard what he said, before she even stood up, my mother started screaming at the top of her lungs, “Fire, fire, fire!” ensuring everyone to immediately stand up and begin running to the scene. My grandmother got the job of taking all of us kids outside to escape the devastating blaze, as my uncle and his brother, my dad, helped squelch the burning bathroom.
After it was all over, and my cousins and sisters and I made our way back into the house, we saw the aftermath of what we considered to be the most life-threatening event of our lives. The black streak that was left on the wall of the restroom stretched from the floor to the ceiling in one solid strip.
Of course, the first thing that anyone in this kind of situation that didn’t already know what was going on, like my grandpa who was asleep in the chair, would ask is “What happened?” Yes, what did happen? I didn’t know either, we were all outside. What we found out later was that my cousin James had been playing around with the candle that was lit in the bathroom, and had dropped it on the floor, setting the place ablaze.

Changing topics now, the rest of the time spent in our new house was pretty normal. No more fires, no more really exciting things. The years went on, vacations were taken, trips were made, family members visited…and then we moved again.

But that’s another story entirely.





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