Aravis was remembering a scene of building a fire with her father in her younger days. The logs had all been dry and rough to the touch, and the pile had been taller than her.
‘Is this gonna be a great fire?’
Growing up hearing Spanish, Jinni, and later English all at once had made the languages bleed together. Apalachee, which she’d heard only rarely even in her early years, had been blotted out almost entirely. It caused experiences that she’d lived in one language to be relived in another, a distortion she wasn’t overly comfortable with because it made her wonder how many other details had been or would be distorted with time.
‘You cannot tell what type of fire you will have before it is set,” her father had said, “only after it has gone out. If it burned hot and consumed only what it was meant to, it was a good fire.’ He’d paused, examining her the way he examined a river when he was unsure of the best way to cross. ‘I worry that you will never know a truly great fire.’
She hadn’t given a verbal response, just mirrored his examination face with a smaller copy until he’d explained.
‘A great fire flares up and reminds you that you are one day going to die. It cannot do that for you.’
Excerpt from my manuscript History in a Hurricane.