Sunday, 11 January 2015

Winter of eight.

We are fire
Burning brightly
You and I
I had the lighter in my hand, standing perched on the driftwood log at the top of the snowy dunes. My tongue is sticking out of the corner of my mouth and my fingernails are blackened underneath and all around the edges but I told him I wanted to light the fire tonight. He gave me one lesson in how to light the lighter and then he went about finding fallen wood.

But I'm not strong enough to hold the flame. I keep getting it to light but then my fingers slip off the button so fast. I'm so frustrated but so determined.

How's it going, Fidget?

Almost got it! Bring tons of wood! It's going to be the biggest fire of the year thanks to me. He laughs and I jump off the log and sit down. I try to roll the wheel against the log like I've seen him do but all I get from that are sparks. I bang the lighter repeatedly and grunt my displeasure at not being able to do this. I wipe my hands on my skirt and tuck my hair behind my ears. One more chance. My coat has black sooty flinty fingerprints all over them, my face too, streaks in my hair that would take five washes to come out.

He comes back with the last armload and dumps them on the pile and looks at the balled up paper I am holding. No luck? 

Almost. I have sparks. I'm almost there!

You have sparks because you're soon to be a flame, and someday you're going to grow into a roaring fire but for now you just show a hint of your light, protected from the wind and rain. Someday a little rain won't make you sizzle and a little wind won't blow you out, someday you'll be the most powerful thing in the world. But for today you will only show as a tiny spark so I can find you. He takes the lighter and with a practiced, easy motion conjures a full flame that he holds up to the paper and then tucks the paper under the edge of the bonfire. Soon I'm warm and sleepy and I don't care at all that I'm not at full-flame yet. Someday I will be.I think it will be when I'm as old as he is. Around fourteen. I can wait.