today i roasted marshmallows over half a lifetime of my memories.
in case that sounded too dramatic, let me fill you in on the specifics. when i was younger, i filled page after page of mundane daily activities into pink books with sleeping cats pictured on the front. later, i wrote mostly about boys and anything that could be defined as overly-dramatic teen angst into cutesy spiral notebooks. then it evolved into non-descript spiral notebooks of ramblings, some entries several days together and some spaced months apart. last post, i told of how i ripped out all the pages of them and put them into a cardboard box to wait until burn day. which was today.
i used a ridiculous amount of matches, sat indian-style on the edge of the newer half of the driveway, and burned almost all of my fingers setting random pages on fire before dropping them in the ditch below to turn to ash. i untangled a hanger and roasted three marshmallows while my cat sat a little way away and stared at me, clearly indicating he thought i was insane. half an hour into this process, when i have inhaled more smoke than is healthy and accidently scorched part of my left leg, and i was sweating in my black tshirt due to the august sunshine and fire, my neighbor comes across the street carrying his fat (and adorable) infant grandson. he walks around both assessible sides of the ditch to get a better look at what i was doing, all the while making small talk about how his youngest son (not the one with the baby) finished his master's program online and landed a part-time job at a college about an hour away and was bringing home $20 an hour for the effort. said son and i have maybe spoken a handful of times, even though he lives across the street, because he's about four years older than i am and more than likely went to a different school. shortly after my neighbor left, my elementary school bus driver drove her bus to the end of the driveway, opened the door, and preceeded to ask exactly what i was doing. after telling her i was burning pages in the the ditch, she asked why i didn't just shred them. i explained that if the penguin could tape together old papers, so could someone else, and i wasn't taking chances. oh, and i gave less-than-helpful directions to an old man in a minivan.
then i dumped a giant orange home depot bucket full of water on top of what was left of the ashes, collected the mail and leftover marshmallows, and called it a day. but none of that sounded as poetic or enticing as my first sentence, although it is a better story.