[Tyr Zalo Hawk]: 712.Stories.Sh
Once they were gone my natural, two year old curiosity kicked in and I had to explore. I needed to rediscover the things about the house that I already knew, hoping to find new ones as well since it was still somewhat new. My brother was being taken care of by the babysitter. He needed it. This was mostly due to the fact that he was only a few months old, but I’m sure that part of it that my brother has always been a handful. That should have been it. All that sweet simplicity should have lasted until my parents returned later that night. But it didn’t, and maybe, there was a reason for that.
We didn’t have electricity yet, so the entire house had to be lit by candlelight at night. With candles burning and my brother and I asleep, the babysitter decided she could relax. Vulcan, however, had taken his own opportunity to go snooping around his territory. Unfortunately enough, during his escapade, he knocked over a candle onto the floor which let loose. Its fiery burden across the floor, the walls… everything.
Our new house was burning down.
When our babysitter noticed, I imagine she panicked. Panic in that not only did she need to escape, but needed to bring two children and a dog with her. Police, the fire department, my parents… they all had to be notified, warned. Perhaps this panic was the reason that she left me inside after calling my parents. Maybe it was simply that she hadn’t noticed me asleep on the stairs inside. Whatever it was, I was left inside while she, my baby brother and Vulcan all went out to wait for help.
My parents arrived first. The house was already engulfed in a raging torrent of flares, spurting showers of sparks. But despite the horror of watching their new house burn down, they also noticed that I wasn’t there.
I can’t tell you why, because I don’t know my mom and I never truly will. But my 20 year old mother with her long brown hair, soft, amber eyes and an honors diploma from my own high school, rushed in to save me.
Did she worry about her own life at any moment? Was she scared? Did anything even go through her mind as she grabbed my body, burning and dripping flesh, and carried me outside while she herself was wrapped in flames? I don’t know. No one knows but her.
When my mom rushed in, my brother’s dad rushed off to find water. The fire department could only get to our location so fast, and it wasn’t going to be fast enough for him. He traveled nearly a mile just to get to a place with water he could use to help. Once he had it, he rushed back and he doused me first with it. Steam flashed out from me as the fire was put it, my skin welcoming the release from the agony of the fire, but wrapped in a new pain of realization about the state I was in.
The rest of the story is just flashes of moments beyond that night. Countless surgeries, slipping into a coma for over a month, worried people everywhere at every moment… and my mom dying. I’ll never know why she died and I didn’t. I was there longer, I wasn’t as strong… I was just a child for crying out loud. But for whatever reason, I lived, and she didn’t. What was that reason? If anyone could answer that, they’d have my gratitude.
© Tyr Hawkaluk (2004-Present)