Setting Fires To Keep You Warm

Let me just start by saying that teenagers are really dramatic for no reason. I think that goes without saying, but the very first memory I think of when I think of campfires was one from my early teenaged years, and it was about a boy.

Thankfully, this story isn’t about me; Rather, it’s about one of my best friends at the time.

Growing up, I was everybody’s go-to gal when it came to love. Don’t ask me why; I have no idea. Actually, friends still come to me for love advice, even though I have told them before that it’s no use asking someone like me. But this isn’t about me now, this is about me then. And this story isn’t even about me, but I have to give some kind of background as to why I’m a part of it.

You see, I consider myself to be half hopeless romantic, half skeptic. In my friend group, I was the Mom: I was the shoulder to cry on, as well as the person to help friends pull their heads out of their asses. Overall, I’m a great supporting character (hire me). So when it came to heartbreak, I was the friend everyone came to. And depending on the situation, I got to choose whether I was going to be the designated shoulder, or start pulling heads.

The Time With The Fire, I was the shoulder.

My friend at the time was going through hardships with this boy that she considered her boyfriend. Personally, I don’t really count him as a boyfriend because we were so young, but we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, and call him her ex-boyfriend.

Long story short: he was really into her at first, and then he somehow won her over, they started “dating”, she grew feelings for him, he lost interest in her, and met someone new. And because we were young and going through puberty and she was a kid in the arts, this was a very huge deal. Her heart was broken, he shattered it into a million pieces.

In my opinion, he wasn’t worth the tears. But I couldn’t be that person for her at the moment. I had to be the shoulder.

My friend used to keep a journal for him. They were filled with letters back and forth between them two, as well as little mementos she’d want to keep. It was kind of cute, but in retrospect, kind of weird. She was the only person that I knew that did that, and she only ever did that with the one boy. I think he might have been her first boyfriend, I don’t remember.

The letters between the two went south. He was depressed, she was depressed. Some mean things were said in the book. She was able to look back at them, and hurt herself over it.

I was over it.

On the Fourth of July, somewhere between one and three months after my friend and that boy broke up, I invited her over my Aunt Roxanne’s house to watch fireworks and get rid of old schoolwork, and I told her to bring that notebook with her. Since I didn’t explain why, she was a little confused, but brought it with her, anyway.

Before the fireworks were set off, she and I sat near my Uncle Guido’s fire pit. At first, we were just throwing old papers and notebooks from school into the fire, and then I told her to start ripping pages out of that journal, and throw away the sad girl she was.

And she did.

She started with one page, then a couple, and then she eventually decided to just throw the entire book in the fire. We spoke about the death of the relationship while she did the deed, as if it were a funeral, but I was proud of her. She started off slow and unsure, but finished throwing that stupid journal away, confidently. Her solemn personality burned away with the notebook; she started laughing, reminding herself how ridiculous she was being.

I put my arm around her shoulder, and told her how proud I was, and directed her to the front lawn, where the real show was going to take place. We laughed about how dramatic the whole thing was—us, her relationship with that boy, the burning of the book. I even remember mentioning to her how that very moment, with my arm around her shoulder, walking towards the fireworks, felt like the end of a movie.

We really were dramatic kids, for no reason, whatsoever.


Prompt: Write about a memory you have related to a campfire.

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