She always romanticized fires. She said it’s present in both ends of the love spectrum, just like the color red. It’s something so passionate, strong, and vibrant; it’s also so angry, jealous, and frustrated. And just like red, the fire kept everything interesting but can also be destructive. For me, she was always both. She is interesting and destructive, passionate and jealous.
I remember that one time when we met, she’s a highly mysterious girl by the hospital cafeteria, she was writing on her notebook or journal, whatever that is, with her fancy fountain pen and I was a nurse having my breaktime. I see her there a lot of times so maybe she knows someone admitted here or works here. Her head of hair is a dark brown color, almost black. She always wears designer brand clothes that fit her fair complexion. I’m not sure why someone would dress so extravagant in the hospital, I mean, it’s a place where people are sick, born, sleepless, recently deceased, et cetera. She was the talk of the female nurses who seemed to work day and night and still wouldn’t afford to buy a single set of her outfit even if all their salaries combined.
I take a piss in the men’s room and it seems like another nurse in there is asleep. I didn’t bother. I flush and wash my hands until I heard a commotion from outside. I head out fast and saw that same girl who’s the talk of the town in a heated argument with the head chef of the cafeteria.
I can’t quite remember the exact words she said but to my surprise, she took her fancy fountain pen and attempted to stab the head chef. To my instinct, I pull him away and placed myself in front of her.
I am holding her hand and I am staring at her remorseless eyes. I thought to myself that maybe under all that extravagance, she’s a heartless psychopath. She pulls her hand from me and it hit me. I have been stabbed in the hand with a fancy fountain pen. Blood trickles down my palm, to my wrist, to my elbow, and made droplets all over my white shoes.
She then takes my hand and her eyes soften. She asks me if I’m okay and honestly, I’m not. I have at least half an inch deep, one inch wide wound that probably needs a stitching.
“I’m okay, happens everyday, I guess” I say, trying to laugh out the pain. I think I know now how it felt to be crucified. She just looks at me.
“You’re insane” she says and escorts me to the emergency room. I’m the nurse here and I’m also the injured. She was very accommodating while they stitch my hand.
“Why’d you decide to try and chucky our head chef back there?” I ask her and she’s wiping my blood from her pen right in front of me.
“Well,” she starts and places her pen back inside her Chanel purse. “He was rude saying that I should go write somewhere else because I was taking up a table that could’ve been for patients.”
I stare at her in disbelief. Why would someone stab someone for that light of a reason? “That’s it?” I ask
“Yeah, pretty much.” She sits beside me while they wrap my hand in gauze. “I’m sorry it was you who got stabbed and not him” she smiles
I know, big killer vibes right? But that’s how we started. She paid for my stitches even though I insisted it was covered by the hospital since I work there. She gave me the money instead and left in her silver Bentley car.
Since then, we started seeing each other more often and our conversation starter would be need a hand? or stitches are bitches, isn’t it? and we’re talking. I noticed that she never ate anything at the cafeteria. She would sit there and just write and write on her journal. I asked her what she does and she said she’s a writer.
“Writer as in a transcriber or for literature?” I ask and she lightens up every time I speak.
“Literature, I work for Disney” her mood is contagious and we’re both laughing. She’s adorable and I want to keep hanging out with her.
A little over a month later, my hand is fully healed. We haven’t stopped seeing each other and one night, I asked her out for dinner. She was more than happy to join me. She is very enthusiastic about going out with me and it felt good. I felt all my efforts were worth it and not once did she ever complain with me taking care of her when she needed comfort.
Time flies quickly when everything felt right. She and I are together, we decided to have our own place. I didn’t sell my place yet because who would want a 12-year-old apartment with a ceiling leak? I don’t usually stay home because it was never a pleasant environment, I slept in the hospital most of the times.
My things are mixed with hers. We take turns in making breakfast, but like, I’m not going to lie, I’m a better cook than her. She semi burns her eggs, ends up drinking the wine meant for the meat, she also can’t get the right proportions for cooking rice. Nobody’s perfect. I have my own flaws too. Despite knowing her for some time now, I still know nothing about her past.
She always avoided talking about her parents. She says she’s a writer for Disney, but I’ve never seen her name in the credits list, nor does she say her works related to the company. She says she has no social media, only calls and texts. She keeps that journal hidden. She says it’s where she writes her story prompts, so I didn’t really bother. But really, something was up when I saw her burn up pages from a children’s book.
“What are you doing?” I asked her concernedly. I approach her and she throws the burning book down the trashcan.
She looks at me with the same remorseless eyes I’ve seen back in the hospital. She hasn’t said a word and I see her journal open. I look at it and its contents are written with red ink that probably came from her fountain pen. She looks where I was looking, and she proceeds to close her journal.
“I didn’t notice you were home,” she says in a calm voice. She never really yelled when she got mad, but her tone right now is definitely colder than that book that’s creating larger fumes. “I thought you were doing a night shift?”
“The book” I make my way to it, but she stops me. I frown. “This will ruin our house”
“The fire is so beautiful, isn’t it?” she says softly. It grows larger and larger. “It only started this little,” making that finger gesture, “and now it’s enough to melt our trashcan” she sighs a small chuckle. I’m getting worried.
“Yes, my dear, it’s beautiful but we can’t have fires indoors” I say, trying to keep the mood light even though a million thoughts are running in my mind. “You could’ve just said you wanted me to grill or make a bonfire to watch the fire” I try to make my way once more to it.
“You know,” she holds me back. “When my father was alive he loved bonfires.” She begins her story and she has never done that before. “I remember, I was the princess of his castle. Every night, there would be a fire just below the balcony and it was a signal for me to come down for dinner.” She looks at me.
“That’s very lovely, but we’re not outside, and we don’t have a balcony” I say, and swoop the hot melting plastic of the bin. She then shifted from her position and tried to stop me.
“Don’t!” she screams, pulling me back but I already threw it out the window. “Why did you do that!”
“We would lose our house if I didn’t do that!” I try to knock some sense in her.
“You don’t understand!” she takes her fountain pen and stabs me on my thigh.
“Agh!” I cry out in pain. She pulls out the pen and begins writing on her journal. I sit myself down on the floor and allow myself to bleed out. I put pressure on the wound and immediately ripped off a piece of my shirt and tie around the affected area.
“Do you know what happens to those who interfere?” her voice is high and agitated. “They deserve to be in the flames” she grabs another book, rips each and every page, and drops one lit up page.
“Why are you…” I try to choke out a word but my thigh is in severe pain, I think she managed to find my femoral artery.
“Such a cliché thing to ask” she continues writing. “You didn’t have to see this really. I thought it was a quick way out”
“Way… out…?” I wince trying to move away from a new growing fire on the floor.
“My mother was a controlling bitch and kept telling me to control other people,” she takes out the aerosol sprays we have and left them near the now crawling fire. “I know it wouldn’t happen because father taught me I was free and so should others” she takes a sip of wine from the bottle. “One day, she heard my father talk to me about it and…” she winces, “She pushed him off the balcony and he landed straight to the fire…” her voice breaks off.
“Why…” I say, barely a sound came out from my throat.
“I was so mad and I pushed her too…” she softly sobs. “I didn’t know what I did, our castle burnt down, it was covered by insurance so they gave me the money” she takes a swig of wine.
“Hey… it wasn’t…” I try to comfort and swallow, “It’s not your fault…”
“I was only 17, barely an adult” she whispers. “My mother’s final regards were in this journal… but even now, I managed to ruin it” she throws it to the burning ground.
With all my might, I try to stand. I felt like any moment, I could just detach my leg from me. She looks at me and her eyes are soft, filled with care. That’s the girl I know and love. She tries to go to me but she knocked off her wine bottle and caused the flames to grow more.
“Get out of here!” I say with all my lungs. She seems paralyzed. She’s in a state of shock. She’s unresponsive. God dammit.
I limp over to her and my adrenaline has taken over me. I look around and grab a blanket. The fire is approaching the aerosol cans and it’s going to light up in here like New Year’s Midnight. I wrap the blanket around her and jumped to the window but it was too late.
The aerosols exploded and it was powerful. We land on the ground with her in my arms and I don’t know what happened after. I dozed off.
I wake and it’s almost 3 AM on the clock. I hear the familiar beeping that I’m used to hearing at work. I blink my eyes and I feel a sting on leg. Oh right, I got stabbed by my crazy girlfriend. Wait, where is she? I sit up and look around. She’s there on the couch, sitting, on her journal again. She looks at me.
“You’re awake” she says in her soothing, comforting tone. “I’m so sorry for everything” she holds my hand and I relax.
“Hey, it’s alright…” now I know what you’re all thinking, I’m crazy for being this accepting, no one is like this. But when someone’s that hurt by the past, would you still want to hurt them further? “You’re safe now”
“It’s because of you” she places a small kiss on my hand. “The fire was so beautiful, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it really was” I say and she’s holding a bottle of wine and lighter. “What?” I say
Everything clicks together. Her journal burned in the house while she was trying to leave me. This can’t be her. This is a dream. She just shakes her head and suddenly, my entire room was on fire. I’m suffocated. I can’t breathe. The beeping continues and I hear it monotonous.
I open my eyes to a very bright light. Well, is this heaven? I can’t be in heaven, I tolerated someone like that in my life. I look around and it’s a white padded room. What? Where on earth am I? There are people outside this glass kind of mirror. What’s happening?
“Test IV for trauma patients serum is complete,” a woman in a white coat says, she sounds like Siri but what’s going on?
“Proceed with test V” another woman says.
“I’m sorry, but what happened in test IV, why did it only last for 30 minutes?” one seemingly younger girl in a white coat says.
“Test IV was to recreate the scene of trauma for the patient using triggering events for him” the first lady says. “After inducing the scene, we made him sleep and everything will connect in his dreams. It’s successful if he wakes, it fails when his heart stops”
The young girl writes down what that woman said. What the hell are you doing to me? Get me out! I stand and hit myself to their glass. I’m not in trauma! It was the girl! She… she’s… I can’t remember her name… what…?
Men in protective gear touch me with this stick that’s electrified. Ah! Ow! I couldn’t speak. They push me back to where I was lying and they had sharp thingies. They’re silver. They’re kinda cute. I want to touch it. I start giggling like an idiot and I feel those silver thingies pierce my skin. I doze off but I keep hearing the monotonous tone. Why won’t it go away? Stop! You’re annoying! Until I don’t anymore. Finally.