Why is fire so fascinating? It’s mesmerizing. I love it. Whenever we sit out at the fire pit, I find myself staring into it and getting lost in the colors. The dancing and jumping of the flames is fascinating. The colors are rich and vibrant. It is pretty and tantalizingly dangerous at the same time. Tempting and enticing, seductive even. I love the sound it makes when the wood cracks and the sparks release.
As far back as I can remember I have loved fire…
It was the Euclid house. My sister, Sherry, and me, alone in the bedroom we shared. One bed, one dresser and a closet. It was small. It seemed big at the time. It wasn’t. We locked the door with a butter knife. The kinds of door frames back then were the type where you could lock the door by sticking a butter knife in between the frame and the wall. I think that’s how it went. Anyway, it locked the door and nobody could get in. We stole matches from our parents. We were intrigued with starting things on fire. Little things.
It seemed like our bed took up most of the room. We shared it. It was either a full size or a queen. I’m not sure. There was a window on the south wall of the bedroom and it was pretty close to the bed. There was enough room for us both to crouch down beside the bed.
We had our stash, the matches and the fire starter—toothpicks. Apparently, toothpicks worked well to start a fire. We tested some toothpicks. They burned fast. As we were burning the toothpicks, we happened to notice there was a hole in the mattress with spider-webby fuzz and foam sticking out. Naturally, that was intriguing.
Sherry wanted to start that fuzz on fire. I didn’t. Sherry said we could blow it out. I didn’t think so. Because I was the older sister, 13 months worth, I was obviously more responsible. I kept telling her we shouldn’t do it. She kept telling me we could blow it out. Well if by blowing it out, she meant blowing it up, well then yeah, she blew it out alright. NOT. Obviously, it made it worse.
The fire started in the mattress. It got out of control. We didn’t know what to do. We were jumping on the bed freaking out. The fire was getting bigger. The flames were coming out of the bed, big time. We didn’t know what to do, so we hid in the closet. Yeah, that little closet that was on the other side of the bed. Like that was going to make a difference.
As a parent, you should never take naps when you have kids named Peggie and Sherry in the house. Especially 6 and 5 year old Peggie and Sherry. They will always get into mischief. We were much older than our tender years though, in case you are appalled by this story.
Mom must have smelled the smoke. Either that or we freaked out enough and were scared enough that we yelled for her. We were stubborn, so I am pretty sure she smelled the smoke.
I’m not exactly sure how she broke into the bedroom. Remember, the butter knife in the door. I guess it wasn’t mom proof. We were still in the closet. She came rushing in and then right back out. She got the bowl. The white bowl. The white Tupperware bowl. She filled it with water and came running back in. Back and forth with bowls of water. Water in the white Tupperware bowl. It seemed like it lasted forever. I bet she was tired. I bet her adrenaline went crazy. I bet she was mad. I bet she wanted to kill us.
Well, now what? We knew we were in BIG trouble. We were super scared, as you can imagine. We didn’t know what was going to happen next, but we knew it wasn’t going to be good. Once the fire was out, we were out. We were done. We were anticipating the punishment. I’m pretty sure she ripped the doors off the closet trying to get to us. I’m also pretty sure that I pushed Sherry in front of me, because obviously, she started the fire in the first place.
Sherry got the first ass beating. On Mom’s lap, pants pulled down, about 10 or 15 hard whacks and then she was thrown to the floor. Ouch. It was my turn next. Same scenario. Pants pulled down like they were made of paper, like there was nothing to them. I’m sure we covered up our butts with our hands. No go. That didn’t matter. She still found a way to get her whacks in. And then, just like Sherry, I was thrown to the floor. I’m pretty sure she threw us back in the closet. The same closet where we tried to hide. The comfort of the closet, which was not comforting at all after that.
It was over. Except not really. The bed was burned beyond saving. It was ruined. It was the kind of bed that had a box spring that was actually springs, not too comfy at all. We had the privilege of sleeping on those springs for over a week before we got a new bed.
Our fire days were over, or were they…