On the twelfth of July, I came home to a fire.
A big part of the place we live was cane. A feeble imitation of bamboo, it’s invasive and it swallowed most of our land up.
Onthe twelfth of July, three teenage boys wanted to take pictures of fire. They came with their lighter and their cameras, and they almost tore my world apart.
If the wind had been blowing in a different direction, my home could have burned down.
On the twelfth of July, my dad received a call from my mother. She was hysterical, and said the four words that made our worst fear a reality: “The cane’s on fire.”
When we got home, all of my senses were attacked. I saw flames, heard the cane exploding, and smelled the smoke.
I’ve never cried from fear before, but that day I just disintegrated.
I had no control over it, I just sat down on the floor and cried.
I never understood the true brutality of fire until that moment, when my life was at stake.
When I heard sirens, I cried from relief. It was like there was a scientist in my brain setting off chemical bombs. Worry, fear, distress, then utter elation.
I’ve never been happier to hear the sound of sirens.
Every fireman I saw was a miracle, and they still are.
I smiled at the firemen like a madman on that first day. One in particular laughed, and I think he sensed my gratitude. We shook hands with all of them, and I’ve honestly never felt so indebted to anyone.
Twelve days later, today, I found myself thanking the sky for the existence of firemen.
It’s been burning steadily for twelve straight days, flaring up and then settling down again.
Now all the cane is gone, replaced by a sea of ash and the feeling of disaster that lingers in the air.
I don’t wish anything bad upon those boys. I only wish that they could see what they did. The full weight of what they’ve done. All the life they killed.