Harmless Arsonist

by The Cowl Editor on January 18, 2019


by Dawyn Henriquez ’19

Of those already called back to the air I am the one that can’t burn. When I was six, I set things aflame in the kitchen sink when mom wasn’t home. The skins of napkins crinkled, as the soft scent of burnt cotton slithered into my nose. Packs of boxed matches came and went. I would waft the smell of matchheads like a chef their masterpieces. My G.I. Joes were in the fieriest wars, their faces oozing with black and blue puss, still smiling because they survived. When mom would get home, she’d wrinkle her forehead in disgust like she found curly black hairs on her toothbrush. Her hands were wooden paddles on my ass. Pinpricks of pain pulverized my dreams of pyrotechnic displays pulsing the pupils of concert-goers around the world.

One day, after a spanking, I locked my room door and threw a lit candle across the room. The tapioca tinted curtains shined and sizzled like a firework on the 4th of July. Flames waved their arms at me in triumph, thanking me for their newfound freedom. The warmth waddled over towards me for a hug as sparks jumped from curtains to dressers and dressers to carpet. Mom knocked my door down and yanked my arm for years before she could force me away from the giggling gurgle of the rolling flames. But of those called back to the air that day, I lived because I cannot burn.

Match burning
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