The staircase was on fire

The staircase was on fire. At the top, he turned around to look down at me in slow motion- maybe it was because of the wavering air created by the heat, or maybe it’s my memory.

“I left the stove on,” he said, “I messed up one of the thousand daily intricacies.” His eyes had a glazed over look. “To be honest, it’s a relief.”

He looked through me and said, “I knew I was going to mess up somewhere, sometime."

Suddenly, my breath caught a lungful of smoke, and I began coughing loudly. He studied me curiously, but continued his train of thought.

“It’s just… it felt like I was going to miss something if I didn’t pay attention… absorb all details, explore every worry… Maybe if I fully understood, there would be no regret later."

I took a step toward him, and he took a step back, as if his retreat was a natural reaction to my advance.

“I don’t know what I was afraid of. It’s so warm now.” He smiled as part of the staircase collapsed and the sky rained fire embers and chunks of flaming ceiling.

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