• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 01

Fire and stars

You never liked that crisp crackle, those spits and puffs, that smoke, those streaming eyes. You never liked fire; I guess it came down to that, though I hated to admit it. To be against something so human, so fundamental. One of the four elements. To hate it, the way you did. It wasn't fear. It was more a detachment. At the bonfire the other kids shrieked and yelped and danced around like sparks. You just stared into the distance, dreaming, probably wishing you were at home watching nature documentaries.

You liked the ice, you liked the sea. The wind and the sky, the clouds. Thunder and lightning. Now lightning did scare you, just a little. But it was a thrill, an adrenaline rush. A good sort of fear, if that can exist. Another thing about which I tried to kid myself.

I wanted you to be like us. Feisty, saucy, a risk-taker. I wanted you to stare into those flames and see so much, so many possibilities for life and death and resurrection, for the world, for the future and the past. Stories, legends, queens and princes and elves and dragons. But you didn't. You looked up at the stars, always with that air of nonchalance. You tried to find patterns. You were a woman of silence. There, I admitted it. I didn't know what to do with you.

When you hate someone it's easy. When you love someone it's easy. When you just don't understand someone at all, how they think, who they are, what they see and hear and feel, it's impossible. I did my best. I tried for a decade to get through to you. Then, on your tenth birthday, I gave up. Not in a bad way. I just realised it wasn't working, I needed a new approach. So I left you, hoping you would crawl onto my knee and pour out your deepest secrets and fears. You never did, of course.


Fire and stars

In a way we weren't your guidance, your North Pole. You found refuge in logic, solace in maths, peace, real peace, in order. In things being neat and perfect and beautiful. Cool and soft and safe. Not wild and uncontrollable like that fire, like us.

We let you go in the end, we had to. And now you are out there singing, not a phoenix, but a dove, white and simple but with a coo that reverberates with meaning, with sense. You are a moment of tranquillity in an imperfect world. You are loved.