Slight Air and Purging Fire

I burned a story in a five-gallon bucket when I was 15.

I haven't thought about it in years, but a friend was talking with me about Eighth Grade and, apparently, it features a scene where the protagonist burns a box of her "hopes and dreams." I both really want to see this movie and really feel that I may, like my friend, cringe my way through the entire thing.

Because, that resonates.

When I was 15, I sneaked out of my house after dark with one of my mom's lighters, clutching eighty or so handwritten pages. I borrowed a bucket from my dad's work truck. I walked far enough away from our trailer that I wouldn't be seen and sat in our overgrown garden, haphazardly lighting the pages and dropping them into the bucket. I remember that I cried, or maybe forced myself to cry because it would be a more dramatic memory that way.

The next day I walked into the woods behind our trailer and found a good spot to bury the ashes and the pages that hadn't burned up entirely. I didn't dig too deep, but I still couldn't find the spot again when I went looking a few weeks later, convinced I'd made a huge mistake.


Years later when all of the feelings associated with why I'd burned the story had faded, I found a part of it that I had typed up to share with my best friend, probably in one of the many time capsules she and I created during a few impressionable summers. I rescued it. I treasured it.

I think I have it still.