When I was about six years old, my mother was walking purposefully down the hall, probably on some kind of errand when she passed the door to my room. At the time, I slept in the top bunk of the coolest bunkbed ever conceived of by man. She noticed as she passed that it seemed that someone was sitting upright in my bunk with the duvet pulled over their head, totally covering them from sight as if they were hiding from monsters. Spurred on by curiosity and the mother’s need to know all, she walked into my room and pulled the covers back to see me turn my smiling six year old face towards her. In my hands were a box of half used matches and the stub of a lit birthday candle. The smell of burnt wax, that now covered my polyester duvet cover hit her nose, bypassed her brain and instantly activated her absolute maternal rage circuits.
I am now 29. My mother still watches me carefully whenever I’m around fire.