Things we learned from the fire.
It is important to be slow. Slow and deliberate. Your motions cannot be haphazard, or meaningless. When you push forward it cannot be just to probe deeper beneath the dying embers. What the dying embers signify must be understood. When you trace a circle in the ashes you must know what the ashes mean and what the circle implies.
It is important to know.
And to remember.
Nostalgia, like weed, can be found in the silliest of places. Stuck to the bottom of your underwear drawer, for instance. Or inside the cassette playing part of your childhood stereo. Secret stashes which you don’t even remember but you keep because you know you never know. You never know when you will need it, you never know when it will want you. Underneath the ashes of a happy bonfire, glowing orange/gray, fizzling, sizzling, threatening to die, unhappy nostalgia. Unhappy and unforgiving… particularly unforgiving. When it rises up to face you… it’s not the smoke that makes your eyes water.
She used to be loved. She still is, but that was different, you see. Different. And that does, sadly, make all the fucking difference. This is good. This is safe and this is comforting and this is calm but that… that was unreal. That was smack dab stolen out of the fucking movies, man. There was blood involved. Love letters written in blood. Pigeon or human was never clearly established but fuck! Love letters written in blood! There was anger and there was passion. This is great, this is very very nice and comfy, but that… that was fucking different. Running away was seriously considered an option… taking on the whole fucking world was seriously considered an option… dying for it was seriously considered an option. This is very very wholesome, very healthy, hygienic and socially acceptable, this is great, really, I swear this is. But that… damn! That was different.
That was different and that is why that is what she sifts to as she sifts through these ashes of the first bonfire her son ever built. That is what glows orange/gray, fizzles, sizzles and threatens to die. But never does. It simmers slowly always beneath the retinas of her eyes, like image-burn on a TV screen, permanently scarring the view. This is better… Lord, so much fucking better… this is rewarding and fulfilling and so damn perfect… but that was different.
That was different and she will never ever know how different her life could have been no matter how many bonfires she sits by and pokes through. That was different and the strength it takes, the stubbornness to let it be, let it lie and yet not die, to let it slowly simmer beneath the retinas of her eyes is breaking my heart.
It is important to be slow. And deliberate. I grab a stick and poke the other end of the ash-pile. I watch her draw a semi-circle around the pile and I watch her stop and I watch as she lingers uncertain before slowly, deliberately, cutting back across and severing the circle in half. I see her hand tremble for a portion of a second. Just long enough to blame it on the chill December night.
This is bloody brilliant, I tell you. This is happiness, the epitome of happiness, the very fucking soul of happiness. This is going to be a legacy, this going to be everything she is ever going to have and this is enough, this is more than enough, this is benediction, this is blessing, this is god’s own warm and tender fucking embrace. But that was different. That was different and for all that this may be it will always be that which she will look for and it will always be that which she will bury beneath every ash-pile of every bonfire that she will ever sit by.
It is important to know, you see, what the embers imply. It is important to remember.