I’ m home.
My room is the same and the freckles in my left eye are still there, I checked twice.
My fingerprints are the only thing missing. I grabbed hold of the hot oven rack
yesterday without thinking, striping tight shiny skin across the inside of my knuckles.
My dad told me if you can’ t identify the sex of a body in any other way – the
forearms will tell if it’ s a woman from oven burns. I don’ t know if he was joking.
My mother has burnt down two of our houses. Both times from forgetting about an
oily pan on the element. Now she yells at me for wandering away from things when
they’ re burning, which I often do.
This makes me wonder if it’ s hereditary. When I was 9 I accidentally set my blanket
and teddy bear on fire with a candle and some origami paper. The flames danced
dangerously close to my pink flannel pyjamas. I put them out with my pillow and
spent the rest of the night trimming charred fur off my teddy. Early the next morning I
ran up the cold driveway and stuffed the blanket in the bottom of our wheelie bin.
In the house before that, I put the goldfish in the freezer because I thought they were
hot. In this house I also convinced my mother to let me sleep in the empty bathtub for
the night. I lasted til 11PM. That same month I ran away from home. I made it to the
end of the street.
Years later I had a boyfriend who dug clumps of sadness out of me like weeds in a
garden. I walked around with dirt on my skin for months. (People were polite and
didn’ t tell me.)
The one before that had a face like an apology. I left home again but this time ended
up alone on the other side of town, looking for forgiveness in rubbish bins on the
street, smoking leftover butts of mercy. I wrestled a bone of hope from a stray dog
and found my way back home again.
Once when I couldn’ t slow down the day, I threw rocks at the moon. I was probably a
bitch in high school.
But I know how to prevent house fires.
Read more of Amy’s beautiful writing here at onislands.tumblr.com