To Build A Fire

fall trees

I would have imparted to him secrets in whose keeping was a burden. And so I ran and ran. I ran for miles. Next, when I saw him, I said to him, “When’s the fire?” He put up his arms, held out his hands and asked me, “Where?” I ran away again. He wandered the countryside slowly, portly and gnomish, gazing at the underside of brooks and the backside of knolls where he could. And me, I just ran by it all. I kept my breath and myself away from him, as much as I could. Our paths kept crossing. “Hello, again!” I said to him running over a hillock one day. “Hello!” he said, “I like your shoes.” True, they were bright orange, as bright as the sun’s orange spots at dawn, but I was embarrassed by this. “I’ve got a fire pit,” I told him. “You do?” he said. “I do,” I replied. “Well, ok.” he said, “You’ve got a fire pit.” “We could build the fire this weekend,” I said. He told me that he couldn’t that weekend, that he was busy that weekend, but that he could the next.

I knew I would have told him that I had four, maybe five more pairs of these same orange shoes he had admired, all the same, stored in boxes. I knew that I would have told him this and everything. I would have told him everything else, more important things about myself that he must never know. And I knew that were he to come over, and were we to sit by the fire for hours, that secret things would come out, not the way dust is beaten out of an old rug, but lightly and effortlessly, just as the smoke and flames would rise and disappear in the nighttime sky. I knew that there were things this near stranger, this queer little man was apt to understand. Even though I knew this man might himself know the heart of things, I had to run, and keep running, lest he and I build a little campfire.

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