• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 01

Catherine Wheel


This isn’t me trying to be funny. I never got to ask you your name, so I had to be inventive. Disclaimer: being inventive is not my forte. Further disclaimer: I’ve never liked fireworks — I much prefer a slow burn.

Light at arms length.

There you were: stood on the opposite side of the circle; a sparkler in the midst of a hundred damp squibs. What were you etching into the biting air with that white light? Maybe your name? I tried to follow your tracers, but you were too fast for me. For a second, before the main event, our eyes met; a dazzling moment that lit up the the dark, muddy field. But, when the show began, we fizzled out.

Stand well back.

I thought maybe I’d find you again, once skies returned to darkness. But there was only thick smoke. The ghosts of a thousand brief lives creeping around us.

Health Warning.

I’m thinking of you as they load me onto the ambulance. Asthma and smoke have always been a volatile mix. As the oxygen penetrates my bronchia and I can once again breathe, I close my eyes and try to remember your face. I always have a little hope. Maybe, when we arrive at A&E, you will be on duty. You’ll hold my hand, ask me how I’m feeling, and your eyes, as blue as touch paper will meet mine. On your breast pocket, there will be a small badge displaying the only name I have for you: Catherine Wheel.