Jesusita Fire

Jesusita Fire

A Story by anamezic

When the fires came to Santa Barbara just to remind us how all beautiful things are finite, my room was being painted, empty save for a bare mattress and a large set of speakers.

Lydia's house was in a mandatory evacuation zone so she came with her family to stay for a few days. Once she arrived, my house was put on evacuation warning and my stomach began to ache so I called Louis and he brought some friends and we sat on my bare mattress in my empty room and blasted music out the speakers real loud.

Downstairs, Lydia's mother and my dad squabbled back and forth about politics, religion, money until my dad got fed up and drew a picture of her house on fire and taped it to the wall. Her laughter echoed throughout the house but I knew he was at least kind of serious. We just turned the music up and avoided making eye contact some more.

I kept my windows open wide until ashes began to coat the ground like snow stripped of its innocence. After the boys left, we sealed ourselves off from the heat and splayed out across the floor in tank tops and underwear, slicking our bodies with the soot that had gathered.

Local news streamed footage of the fire all through the night while Lyd and I leaned on each other, watching until sunrise woke the rest of them.

We felt some sort of self importance, watchdogging as they slept. When my mother got up I informed her that the fire had spread, and dry winds were pushing it in our direction.
She said it was going to be ok but I knew she didn't think so because all of last night's dishes were piled up in the sink and she wasn't going frantic about getting them washed.

Our parents told us we didn't have to go to school but we went anyways. Driving fast with the windows down, we were survivors of the apocalypse, adventurers in hell, anything but two kids in a fire hazard zone. We got to school all right only to find it had been turned into an evacuation shelter. Red Cross volunteers and smokey-lunged evacuees bustled about as we asked around, trying to help.

We wanted to stay. We wanted to stay and do anything but wait in my empty room on my sheet less mattress watching sweat drip from our noses. But, they told us this was no place for children and we pondered that while passing a very loud and intoxicated homeless man who was bitching about the allegedly burnt hash browns. I wanted to tell him everything was burnt or burning or at least singed today, but we just walked on by and got in Lydia's Volvo and drove home with the windows down, spitting ash out of our mouths.

When we got home, the fire had moved away from Lyd's house and her family had gone home. My dad took his drawing off the wall and said, "We have to evacuate, I think you'd better go now." She popped her gum and spun the keychain round her index finger once before she uttered a one-syllable goodbye, turned on her heel and walked out the door.

No embrace to convey the years of Christmas Eve's and Thanksgiving dinners spent roaming the streets while our families sat down together to eat. She didn't let herself care. She wasn't the type. Preoccupied with mud sledding, tapestries and teal. Her 3-foot-long blond hair; the antithesis of her boyish appeal.

Lyd left me standing infront of my parents and drove around town until the gas was drained and she barely squeaked home to people she tried so hard to avoid.

My parents decided the only thing to do at this point was grab my mother's jewelry box, some photographs, the money, and drive to San Francisco. The smoke looked small once we had climbed far enough up the mountain and I thought of you as the cloud of ash became indistinguishable from a marine layer cradling the city that taught us how to love.

I saw Lydia again recently when I invited her to my birthday party. I wanted to spend all night talking about Thanksgiving or the fire, but her friend got too drunk and pissed on my wall so I kicked him out and she went along without a word.

© 2013 anamezic

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I'm impressed! I love the American drawl of this style of writing. It reminds me of commentary in the background of a film. I like the awareness of 'existence' that comes across in this. Not sure what a 'marine layer' is. Also I'd say write 'sheetless' mattress. or 'sheet-less.' I think your teachers must have been bowled over by your talent and have advised you to keep it up. I need to know a bit more.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on May 8, 2013
Last Updated on May 8, 2013
Tags: jesusita, fire, nonfiction, true, santa barbara, burn, flames, friendship, friend, youth, love, kid, kids, school, news



Santa Barbara, CA

19 year old from California moving to Brookyln for an education. work inspired by white guilt/ philosophy/ degenerate mental health and unfaltering romanticism more..