Like when they were building the house next door. Some wood scraps were burning in a small pile outside, and it spread  to the whole front yard. We sat on the front porch and watched it burn. Waiting for the green volunteer fire trucks.

And when that house down the road from the high school was burning. They let us stand outside on the steps to the parking lot to get a better view of the flames trying to get free by jumping out the windows.

Or when the restaurant caught on fire while I was at work. Our desks beside the windows facing the burning building. So close to the flames, we were all red-faced and sweating. It was a Saturday, so no one was there to tell us to unglue ourselves from the windows and get back to work. Except the police, who made us evacuate. Next door, attached to the burning restaurant, there was a medical supply store, a backroom full of oxygen tanks, each waiting patiently for a chance to explode. We had to evacuate, and I had to leave my car, parked out in the middle of the fire.

The next day, the restaurant was gone, and my car was caked with the small pieces of the burnt building. For several weeks, driving my car was like driving a hickory pit. Everywhere I went, I smelled like slow-cooked, smoky meat.

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