Fire and fear

The neighbourhood I grew up in is a rough one. Gang wars, burglary, squatters and domestic violence that spilled out onto the street. From time to time there would be an abandoned car parked outside my house or just around the corner. It was filled with rubbish and planks of wood. And then, in the early hours of the morning we would smell the smoke and hear the sirens.
A beautiful but deadly blaze.
My biggest fear was that the flames would catch onto the branches of the tree that stood right outside our house and burn us alive just like it did to my friends family home. Five kids and the babysitter.
I think the fear was magnified by my mothers paranoia.
I would sleep on the floor of my parents bedroom because I was too scared to be alone. I don’t know why I thought that I would be safer in their bedroom. I guess it’s just one of those childhood things; the ignorant hope that the monsters weren’t actually real.

I knew the streets, being kicked out of the house at any given time.
I found my hiding place; an alcove, just wide enough to fit my frightened body in. I would crouch down in between the drainpipe and mean scratchiness of the walls. i would hold my breath every time the rushing waters of the drainpipe crashed down and shook the earth below me.
Its funny isn’t it, how that when you are so small everything around you is so big. And loud. And scary.

Oh and I still don’t light fires or carry hot soup.