So our apartment building caught on fire over the weekend.
File that under sentences I thought I’d never say. It was early evening, a hot and sticky Memorial Day weekend, and I was standing in the parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts while a handful of fire trucks circled my building. I stood in the parking lot with my boyfriend and my neighbors and my neighbor’s quaking bunny rabbit, watching fire fighters shimmy into the sky on extendable ladders, stomping around our roof, shooing gawkers away from the action, and all I could think was, “So this is why I pay taxes.”
When we got the all clear to go assess, I sat in the doorway to the deck and surveyed the damage. It looked bad. Our lackadaisical descent and the calm, measured movements of the fire department had suggested that this was perhaps merely a safety drill, but seeing the evidence so artfully displayed reassured me that, minutes before, this deck had actually been on fire.
Carefully picking past charred boards and our overturned grilled, we looked for souvenirs. Well, I looked for souvenirs. This is what I’m keeping:
When I later presented my finding to my roommate, she laughed and called me a hoarder. It hadn’t occurred to me until then that guarding a piece of melted trash to commemorate the event was unreasonable, or even unusual in the slightest.
On a bookshelf in my childhood home sits a black plastic rotary dial phone from the mid-70s. Straight out of a Dali painting, the headpieces is welded to the frame, the dial is dripping plastic pearls over the base, and the box is caved in, pocked and pitted like you’d taken to it with a bb gun. My dad rescued this melted relic from the remains of his cabin after it burned down in the Canadian woods thirty five years ago. He’s been hauling it from house to house across the continent ever since.
When I called him from the Dunkin’ parking lot on Saturday, he retold the story of that house and that phone for perhaps the tenth or twelfth or hundredth time. So of course I’m keeping the twisted solo cup and of course I’ll drag it from apartment to apartment. What is it they say about apples and trees?
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