Carelessly, I sometimes wish for fire. I fantasize about sacrificing the house in one great immolation that will finally free me from clutter. Expired grocery lists clone themselves inside my purse. Journals (I’ll glean them for inspiration next week) are stacked on top of a thesaurus I meant to sell to the used book store. I plow through a closet stuffed with jeans that no longer fit, searching for the single pair that does. Week after week, I make a pilgrimage to the Salvation Army to cart off boxes filled with last year’s fantasies.
What should I save? Rubbish clutters my mind as well as the closets. I awaken to the same old resentments. They compete with outdated judgments for the limited space in my consciousness. My personal fire season begins with each new sunrise. Incineration threatens my past, but I refuse to evacuate. Flames licking at my heels, I rush to save treasures. I need that anger I’ve hoarded for a dozen years. It keeps me warm at night. And one day, I’ll dust off the guilt I felt when my closest friendship ended. Guilt is good to have around. And why did I fail to return my brother’s call last night? I’ll hang on to that––second-guessing always comes in handy.
What should I save? I salvage artifacts from the house-on-fire that is yesterday and drag them to the imaginary safety that tomorrow promises. For a change, just once, let the house burn down, all its contents consumed. Let the breeze cool my face, as I stand in the ashes, empty-handed.