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A fine line between arson and accident 0

Yo Shaw,

I’m writing to you now, here in our apartment, thankful to be alive and with apartment intact. No thanks to Francesca who, moments ago, almost set fire to it.

It happened quite simply, as things of this nature tend to do. As usual on a Friday evening, she had illuminated the living room with candles and filled the air with cinnamon fragrance emanating from essential oil diffusers. Then, after sitting opposite me on the couch and taking up her materials to study Chinese medicine, her cell phone rang. It was on a shelf by the kitchen, and while rising to answer it she set her papers and folder next to one of the candles at the edge of our coffee table. I saw the whole thing happen, watched as she grabbed her phone and then headed toward the bedroom while her folder caught fire and black smoke and red flames licked along the papers.

Though I should have leaped off the couch, seized the burning materials and then raced toward the bathroom or kitchen sink, I didn’t. Instead, I breathed deeply in and out, and then, shaking my head, called to her. When Francesca turned and saw the flames, her eyes widened and she started laughing (yes, laughing) as she told her caller to hold while she extinguished a fire. Of course, I was slightly disconcerted that she found the situation funny. After all, such a negligent action draws a fine line between arson and accident, and could easily happen again.

Whatever the case, she set her phone aside, seized her folder, and then patted out the flames with the palm of her hand. Personally, I would have doused them with water, avoiding the peril of first-degree burns, but apparently she preferred to minimize the damage to her notes, even at the risk of pain.

So there you have it, Shaw, a day in the life of everyman. One second everything seems a-okay, life is hunky dory, you’re happy, healthy, and dinner is on the stove, soon to be served, and then bing bang bongo the flimsy strand that weaves everything together is snipped by the “abhorred shears” of Atropos. I guess it is amusing, in a way, and for that reason maybe it’s right to laugh, if you only think how little it takes to turn your world upside-down, a reality that seems as solid as stone but is more fragile than an eggshell. Of course, if not for the yolk inside, what would it matter anyway?

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