17. First Line: The fire was getting closer
The fire was getting closer. Closer. Closer. Closer. The flames reached out to her, grazed her skin, startled her — her, the girl who was so accustomed to the lonely cold.
What was this? She would shudder. But heat never made anyone shudder. She felt something trickling down her arms. What was it? Blood? Sweat?
She saw that it was her icy exterior. Melting. Melting. Melting.
She felt warm. Comfortable. There was a strange security within the flames, but she found herself overwhelmed by a strange sense of terror as well.
But she let herself be consumed.
And every part of her melted. Even her frigid heart.
Remember yesterday, when your home was on fire and you got to save five items? That means you left a lot of stuff behind. What are the things you wish you could have taken, but had to leave behind?
Gone. Everything’s gone. Burned down; reduced to miserable, grey, dustlike matter.
Everything, that is, save for Buffy (my external hard drive), Stevie Wonder (my iPad), Danny (my guitar), Decklen (my point and shoot), and Baggy (my office bag, the one stuffed with important files and folders and, yeah, the one whose name I had just made up on the spot).
I’m glad I was able to salvage them. But all my other belongings are nothing but ashes now.
The letters and memorabilia my friends gave me before I left for Malaysia. The police and AH1N1 reports I managed to collect during my first months here. The books and journals I kept to keep me company during my many moments of solitude. I had packed them all inside an ordinary carton box eons ago. I had kept them tucked under my bedroom’s study table so that I could go back to them antime I needed to. Funny how I had managed to bypass them in my frantic effort to save “the top and important five”. There’s nothing I can do to save them now.
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Perhaps it’s a sign. Maybe it means I should simply leave the past behind and move on towards the future.
Accidental as it may be, the bridges have been burnt and now there’s nowhere to go but to go forward.
So. Forward I must go.