The Fire That Forced Me to Finally Say Goodbye
When my house burned down with Mom’s ashes inside, I lost her all over again.
Illustrations by Seymour Robbins
It’s late, well after 11:00. But my best friends and one-time college roommates and I have been made to wait for this moment, when everyone else is asleep, so that we can revert to our 20-year-old selves without the witnesses of this present and properly adult life. Mandy and I live only a few hours apart but we don’t see each other as often as the distance should allow, and we haven’t seen Kristin in more than three years. Families and jobs and all the duties that accompany the real world always seem to conspire against reunion, but this time, we have made it happen. Our laughter is louder than it should be in a house where others slumber, and has not yet faded when I answer Damian’s call, the horror and desperation in his voice a jolting juxtaposition to my own lightheartedness.
“It’s gone, Babe,” he gasps. “The whole house. There was an explosion… I couldn’t do anything.”
My feeble “What? Wait, what?!?” stops both laughter and conversation in the room …
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial