[Second draft, the first being written between the hours of 11PM and 1AM. Constructive criticism, go.]
[I am aware that some of you may find this distasteful in light of the recent bushfires in Victoria, but for me, this is a process in dealing with it, in trying to wrap my head around why someone could do this. There are so many different reasons, but this is where my story has taken me...]
I watched, captivated, as the sparks spread. They were fierce, unstoppable, and they were mine. Could it be ignored? It didn't matter anymore, if you didn't notice me. You noticed this. And it was mine.
It was growing, powerful; the winds and heat had helped fan it further than I had expected. I could barely contain myself.
You've just returned from fighting them, of course; you came in late, as you did last night and the night before. I heard you climbing the stairs, wearily, each movement a struggle. No doubt you were covered in grime and soot; no doubt you ached, barely able to think. The way you like it. The sound of water falling as you shower is soothing, but I cannot let myself fall to sleep.
Small sounds as you dress, and then you are climbing into bed beside me. A flash of memory hits, the ghosts of a time past, in which a younger you gently kissed the cheek of a younger I, almost asleep; a time when there was still a vibrant love that hung in the air between us.
How things change, how they fade and dull. A mirror put aside, covered in dust, a faint reflection perhaps to be made out upon fierce squinting; its clarity gone. Much like our love, I thought. The flames of our love had died out, but these flames of mine now would burn for much longer. This fire of mine called for attention, as it leapt about, flickering; here, now also there, continually growing. Hungry.
My fire didn’t just call for attention; indeed, it demanded it, daring others to try to ignore it, if they could. It demanded attention, like I had longed to do but couldn’t, and it was the fire itself that saved me. I remember the day it began.
Waking to white walls and the smell of disinfectant, exhausted and hurting; the pain gripping before I could even recall. Words were thrown around, in the minutes and hours that followed - "miscarriage", "everything that could have been done was", "my condolences"... That was where it all started, really. When the words made me want to scream, and I felt the knowledge that I was being ripped apart on the inside, I did nothing but wait for it, this terrible end I deserved. It didn’t come.
I once grabbed a knife, determined to give it a release, anything to get this out of me, but I couldn't do it. I don't know why. And the pain continued day after day, torturing silently, mercilessly, within the confines of my rib cage.
You were there, but from the moment I woke, you weren't, not really. It was like you had left; as though the death of our son, this murder I had let my body commit, had severed that which tied us together. They say you were there for me, and I suppose it appeared that way. You said the right phrases, you held me. But all the while you were away somewhere, in some other place; and I knew from your eyes and the cold rigidity of your arms around me that it was a place where our son was alive, where his mother wasn't also his killer. I knew you hated me for it, but all that mattered was that the pressure building up was crushing me. Sooner rather than later, I would combust. Fragments of skin, muscle, and bone would splatter the room in a spray of blood, and then the fire burning up from within, finally free, would take everything with it, leaving my remains a charred black dust, when it was done.
You turned towards fire-fighting more than ever. I knew you imagined every time that you were protecting him, saving him, as you could not save him from me. You accused me with your look, when you could force yourself to be around me long enough. Murderer.
And then I found my saviour.
I lit a match, outside one day. To see this thing, to see this thing that was inside of me, destroying me. That was when it came to me.
And it was so simple, you know. So obvious. I opened my hand and watched it fall. The patch of weeds it fell on burned, viciously, ferociously, and I could feel that this fire was the fire inside of me, leaving a little. Burning outside rather than inside. It grew. I knew I should put it out, but I couldn't. The burning was leaving me. I watched as it burnt, all of it; and as our home went up in flames I felt nothing but an ever-growing relief.
When the smoke and the flames alerted others, you came in your truck, you and your yellow-suited colleagues. You thought I was standing there silently due to shock, but I was silent with amazement, reverent. And when you put your arms around me and held me, like you used to, for that brief second; I realised just how powerful my fire was. Releasing me and bringing you back to me.
But even that couldn't keep you, could it? It was not enough, and so that moment passed. The fires were more and more my everything, as they wove their way through our lives, now separate, but bringing them back together. I lit them, and you had to take notice just as you could not notice me; had to put in effort, had to stop them; and so our lives were once more intertwined, although you could not know.
Even better, I was being freed. The fierce gnawing from within had calmed, slowed, and the only thing left was to create more flames outside, where more of the burning within would join in, leaving me a little freer. Slowly. Surely.
When it takes lives? Better still. Because you feel that you have lost, that you are also to blame for the murder of our son, you could not save him even when you tried. Remember, I wanted our son too. I loved him also.
There is more to the fire than you know. More than I knew. But I understand, now. All this time, it was all just the catalyst (is this the right context? i don't know if i've used it correctly?). These fires alone will never be enough to free me. And I cannot take this fire within any longer.
Peace is coming, shortly. I will finally be free. This is the final revenge for you too. Because with this love for you that I never quite lost, is this hatred grown stronger than that love.
But the fire has the solution. It has the solution to everything.
I can see you now, asleep once more, as I sit next to you where you lie on our bed. I am doused already. I take your hand for a second, and you stir slightly. Odd, how it could be a stranger's hand I hold. Your touch is no longer familiar to me in any way.
I strike the match, watch the small flame flicker. So small, and yet, it will grow. Ever hungry, but I shall feed it. As it has infinite times before. There is nothing to fear.
It was so simple, you know, all this time. So obvious. I open my hand and watch the match fall.
Is it obvious enough that she is setting herself on fire, and her husband/partner?
I know I changed tense somewhere =/
I'm tired and I don't even know if it's good, so comments please. A title would be nice too. I will revise and edit. (:
Thursday, February 19, 2009
[Second draft, the first being written between the hours of 11PM and 1AM. Constructive criticism, go.]
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
In English Studies, we had to do a recount based on a phrase we could choose out of a list. There weren't that many options... I picked "It was a disaster". While I couldn't be bothered using my imagination, I couldn't come up with much from my life either. Thus, the story of my fish... Get excited >.< (Really, I wouldn't bother reading it, it's not that great, or even interesting... lol) It was a disaster. (Teacher's corrections in red, my own commentary in square brackets)
When I was five, my younger sister and I entered a colouring competition at the local pet store. I believe the picture we were required to colour in was of a fish, although I can't quite recall; but I do know that all who entered received a goldfish, which is how, for a brief space of time, our family ended up with two.
We've never had much success with pets, although these hapless specimens were the first. We've had a rabbit, amongst other animals, and the wretched thing always seemed to escape from its hatch, running away, sometimes for days at a time. My sister, though she barely cared for him while he was there, was inconsolable at his loss, particularly one time when we thought he was gone forever, only to be brought back nearly a week later by a neighbour. However, this is not about the rabbit. This is not about the bird, or the hermit crabs, or the sea monkeys. This is about the goldfish.
I remember the initial curiosity of those small, orange fish, swimming around in two clear plastic bags filled with water. It seemed careless to me, to carry them in such a wary; for if my mother lost her hold on the wobbly sacks [LOL at using the word "sack", which aside from anything else, is just a word I find amusing], if they fell onto the hard asphalt of the car park, surely the fish would spill out of the untied bags in a rush of water, gasping and flapping their fins helplessly in the moments before they died. Dead before they were even truly ours, before they reached home.
Such was the worry of my young mind [I was not worried, I was merely speculating], but these fears were not to come to pass; the fish
being were safely delivered to their new bowl at home.
For a time they were happy, or so I assumed, well fed and with clean water as they were. They did not show any sign of emotion, and I quickly grew bored with these new additions to our household, who seemed to merely swim, incessantly, circling their tiny living quarters. What dull creatures they were, I thought, opening and closing their mouths which, together with their rounded eyes, gave them a vacant appearance that irritated me.
Truth be told, the only real fascination the fish (who we never named, as far as I'm aware) held for me was in watching them from different angles; from above or through the curved glass of the bowl. The changing sizes and disproportionate shapes greatly intrigued me; something about water that I must confess captivates me even today.
I was not, unfortunately, to spend much time examining this strange phenomenon in the context of the fish bowl. My mother decided that to keep the fish safe from possible knocks to the ground, she would keep thir bowl atop a large cupboard, far above the reach of our little hands.
Ultimately, it was this that spelled the end for one of the fish.
One fateful day, the fish bowl was filled up higher than usual with water. Back in its place on top of the cupboard, one of the fish jumped, as they apparently are wont to do, and with the water as high as it was, it managed to jump so high that it landed out of the bowl, on the cupboard.
Unseen, its life came to an end, only to be found when my mother next came to change the water or give the fish food.
I can't say I was saddened; the goldfish had never really been of importance to me and I might have cared more about the breaking of a leg on one of my dolls.
The lone goldfish must have lived on for quite a while longer, but I cannot know for certain, as our family moved overseas shortly after the death of the first, rending it necessary that we found another home for the remaining fish. Again, I was not sorry to see it go. In the cynical thoughts of my younger self, I seem to recall a feeling of glee at what the unknowing recipients had gotten themselves into, having to look after an animal that would not provide any entertainment.
I've never really been that keen on fish.