The burn


“Is this what you imagined when we first got together all those years ago, Mabes?”

“What – on that first disastrous date, when you thought watching an amateur brass band slaughtering the output of some of the world’s best composers was your idea of showing a girl a good time? No, it isn’t, Joe.”

“Well, what about the second date, then?”

“Do you realise how lucky you were even to get a second date after that first fiasco?”

“Yes, I do, and I’ve been thankful for these past fifty-odd years that you saw through my first misguided attempt to impress you.”

“I still can’t believe that you thought an intelligent, fashionable, modern – for the time – teenaged girl would be impressed by a bunch of losers—”

“That’s not fair, Mabes, and you know it. Some of those kids went on to be—”

“Don’t say famous, Joe. Do not say any of them went on to be famous, because they didn’t. None of them. It’d be a stretch to say any of them went on to become competent musicians.”

“That’s the word I was going to use, dear.”

“What, competent? HA!”

“No, musicians. I’m sure one or two of them at least went on to make a living as—”

“Session players if they were lucky, buskers if not.”

“Anyway, forget about that band, I—”

“I wish I could, Joe. I seriously wish I could forget about that unworthy bunch of cacophony peddlers, but I can’t. I still wake up in the night convinced there’s blood coming out of my ears after hearing their awful noise.”

“I’m glad to see you haven’t lost your knack for exaggeration.”

“And I never will. As long as there is breath in my body; as long as this tired planet keeps spinning and running its yearly course around the sun.”

“You haven’t answered my question, my precious.”

“Which one?”

“Is this what you imagined our life would be like after our second date – the one where you told me of the life you dreamt of?”

“I told you that? In the middle of a roller-skating race – a race that gave me backache for days afterwards? Which, I have to admit, was a massive step up on the earache I had after the first one. Remind me, though, at what stage did I reveal my dreams to you?”

“It was when you came to after falling down those steps.”

“I was probably delirious.”

“You sounded fine to me.”

“Which possibly says more about you than it does about me.”

“But is it?”

“But is what what?”

“Is this what you had in mind when you said what you said back then?”

“Remind me. What exactly is it I’m supposed to have said?”

“Well, not exactly said, it was more like singing, really.”

“I sang to you?”

“Maybe not sang to me. Not as such. More like I happened to be there when you decided to sing. In fairness, though, these were the first words to come out of your mouth after you regained consciousness.”

“Are you sure I was fully compos mentis? Not just beginning to come around?”

“You seemed to be. I’ll grant you, though, you may have been in that happy halfway state between awake and…”

“So, what did I sing?”

“Have you forgotten already?”

“Already? It was more than fifty years ago. That hardly counts as already. Especially if I wasn’t fully conscious at the time.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you. Your exact words were, ‘Baby, you can light my fire.’ Remember?”

“I remember going to a concert with some of my mates a week or so beforehand. I remember that dreamy Jose Feliciano singing Light My Fire. Maybe it was in my head as I came to again.”

“So you weren’t singing it to me? You weren’t sending me a message?”

“Hang on. Have we had this conversation before?”

“How am I supposed to know? My memory’s a bad as yours!”

“Never mind. Put another log on, will you? My feet are like blocks of ice.”


This original fiction was written in response to Kreative Kue 386 published on this site earlier this week.


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