It’s fine, leave it be. It has to rest sometime.
That’s true about most things that move. It’s true about men and beasts. It’s true about the air. It too can move of course. It can form strong winds, winds that blow and blowing these winds can catch many things off-guard. Rocks and trees and flowers and objects of all shapes and sizes. If rocks could talk it’s quite possible they would be upset about being caught off-guard. Parar é morrer, pedra estúpida!
The air puts many things in motion. It puts in motion things that spring other things, but also many fires and those are not nearly as enthusiastic about any little thing. Men and beasts – those can be very little to a big fire. And it was a big fire and its slow walk the three men now witnessed.
I still think we should leave, cried the smaller of the three.
Look at you. So thin and tiny. I’m sure you could fool the fire, said the bigger man. You’ve been fooling around for a living. What’s stopping you now?
Shut up! Can’t you see? It’s been alive for far too long.
Whatever. Fires can do a lot of good. And so can a bottle of wine now that I think about it.
The hell is that supposed to mean?
That some things should burn! Oh, and that I’m thirsty. All in all, I’m just aching for that burn, you understand?
Yeah, well, it’s not like you can choose.
You got that right. Arlen, hand me the port over there. Don’t want to be late taking my meds. Skipping that last dose can kill ya, haven’t you been listening?
We gotta do something!
It has to rest, damn it! Haven’t you been listening? Arlen, the port!
The flames spread across the pine and up the hill where the men stood looking. They spread at the speed of a beating heart in distress, pulsating, getting stronger. The fire expanded feeding on the pine and the long dead flowers once given to long dead humans in distress and, approaching, this fire left a trail like that of a snake in casual pursuit of newly found prey. The fire expanded and exploded. Fire spat fire and the hill blazed. The small man allowed his cheeks to burn and ran, his shadow making him seem the biggest he had ever been. A big target. An easy and ungainly one. A fool no longer, but something else and something worse. Ashes from dead flowers blessed his passing; ashes from the man stained the wine. The big drunk lost hope and waited for the fire to rest, he waited and he lost hope.
Fires don’t tire after all, Arlen said at last. But the more tired we get the quicker we’ll be allowed to rest. Let us run, I say. I would rather die on an empty stomach, than remain here feeding on the zombies of the world.
Thus a drunkard went up in flames. Thus a runner was caught by a fire. The blazes shrunk and became an ember. To the small black tree it would retire.
Fire doesn’t rest; it waits.
Lisboa, 29. August. 2017.
Nuno M. Monteiro Ramos