The world is a fine place to live. At least that was what my mother always said. But now I don’t know whether it’s true. I’ve always believed it, because, how can you not believe someone who says something, a phrase so profound, so religiously? She said it and maybe she’s true about it. I don’t know if her saying is actually true or not, but she said it was from the bible and that made it real; whether the world was indeed a fine, great, amazing place to live, or not -rather an awful, horrendous and ugly place instead – it didn’t matter to me. My mother said that the world was fine and so I believed it was.
Even though it was burning all around me.
I’m not sure when I noticed for the first time, but I believe that it went gradually, just like so many things occur to one. Like the moment the coke has lost its sparkle when it has been sitting on the table for too long and you wonder where the time has gone. Because you remember very clearly that you poured the glass to the rim and then it was still fizzing, so much so that the little bits of liquid sprinkled on the side of your hand. But now it’s flat and you wonder what you’ve been doing in the meantime.
That’s how I like to think I noticed. You know, for real. I imagine that at first, I enjoyed the warmth of the glowing embers. Then dim, red flares painted the walls in front of me and it looked imposing but they weren’t too big yet. Because I didn’t know it then. Probably spent some time staring at it, or no, I saw them occasionally from the corner of my eye, like insignificant flashes of movement. They were there alright.
But I was busy with something else. They didn’t look so alarming to me at first, more like added decor to the living room or sun-faded spots on the wallpaper. But then it became hotter. Not only around me, although that too was warmer than before, like protruding steam that annoyingly hung around me, smelling bad and not at all what steam smells like when you go to a sauna. Or so I think at least. No, it was warm under my feet. Hotness crept through the spaces between my toes and it climbed further up my ankle and my shins and my knees and when I finally figured out I was on fire, it was too late. Clearly.
I should’ve known, seen the signs, but I was blinded or perhaps plain ignorant. I don’t blame myself though. It was only that I was gullible. I believed in a line that was always said to me. And maybe I still do. It’s a fine place indeed.
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