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Friday, November 14, 2008

Lighting Matches To Memories

It’s was so cold outside yesterday. The only event I was looking forward to last night was taking a hot shower, putting on my favorite pajamas, powering up my laptop, and blogging. The moment I had looked forward to all day was ruined when I noticed that the water wasn’t getting hot. On a good day, the water in my house is so hot you could fry a whole chicken and boil pasta. My suspicions were confirmed however when I could see that my pilot light had gone out. It could only happen to me and on one of the coldest nights of the year. The one thing keeping me from enjoying the perfect night, at least in my mind, is my fear of matches. Instantly I was transported back to Denham Springs, Louisiana and the time my brother set our house on fire. It was right after Christmas and my Grandmother had just given me a crate of beautiful books and a bookshelf. I loved my books, and I would read one book every night before I drifted off to sleep. My precocious brother was spoiled rotten. On this particular day my Mother would not give into his temper tantrum or his demands. In unruly defiance my brother cemented himself in my closet and thus became a pint- sized arsonist. The fire destroyed everything I’d gotten for Christmas. My beloved books my Grandmother had sent me were burned beyond recognition. I’ve been afraid of matches ever since.
For goodness sake, all I wanted to do was put soap and water on my body and a childhood fear had resurfaces. I knew that as long as I couldn’t bring myself to strike those damn matches, I would have to live with the smell coming from my body. Okay flash forward. I had a few options. I could take a cold shower, light the damn matches, or call someone. I chose the latter. I sat in the horrid stench of my armpits and waited until my handy man hero lit my fire. Isn’t it funny how you think you are over events that happened years ago and then one single event reminds you that you aren’t? It might seem ridiculous to you that I’m afraid of matches. I think maybe the matches gave me the freedom an excuse if you will that allowed me to be afraid. The books are gone, my childhood is gone, and my brother who took his life is gone. Maybe lighting the matches would signal that even after 11 years my only brother really is gone. By lighting the matches I could admit that I was angry at my brother for causing that fire that destroyed my books and a piece of my childhood. I wasn’t ready to do that. Strongholds can easily be built in our subconscious, but they must be demolished so that healing can take place.
None of me is free until all of me is free.


  1. Oh, how true this is. I've definetly been there before. I'm a chicken though and wouldn't have even had to ponder calling, the neighbor, the police, the mailman or anyone who could get me hot water (i adoore hot water). I'm not sure where my fear of fire comes from though. Too many tv episodes of explosions in others' faces could have something to do with it though. Thanks for another great read.

  2. You do wonders for my writing self esteem :-)

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  4. I have a fear of fire too however I love to light candles. I have never been in this kind of situation before but I can only imagine. We all have fears and some we never get over including myself.. That's some real shit..


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