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Toward His Fire

Toward His Fire I recognised him by the light from the fire. I walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder. He looked at me but said nothing; instead he fixed his gaze on the conflagration. I, too, stood silently and watched. The heat from the flames was roasting us; I said, “Let’s get away from here.” But he looked at me numbly and said, “Where do we go?” I didn’t have an answer; it seemed there was none. Then he pointed to the smoke-filled room on the third floor, from which big chips of paint, ripped from the walls by the raging fire, came fly- ing down. “You know,” he said, “I used to live in that room.” “I know.” A man draped in a dhoti sped up to us on a bicycle, a big pitcher of milk tied to the back. He dismounted and asked my friend, “Babu, how did the fire break out?” My friend stared at the man for a moment, then turned back to the burning, collapsing building. His silence seemed to answer the man’s question, or maybe the question was no longer necessary. He gawked at the gutted building for a while, then got http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Manoa University of Hawai'I Press

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-943x

Abstract

I recognised him by the light from the fire. I walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder. He looked at me but said nothing; instead he fixed his gaze on the conflagration. I, too, stood silently and watched. The heat from the flames was roasting us; I said, “Let’s get away from here.” But he looked at me numbly and said, “Where do we go?” I didn’t have an answer; it seemed there was none. Then he pointed to the smoke-filled room on the third floor, from which big chips of paint, ripped from the walls by the raging fire, came fly- ing down. “You know,” he said, “I used to live in that room.” “I know.” A man draped in a dhoti sped up to us on a bicycle, a big pitcher of milk tied to the back. He dismounted and asked my friend, “Babu, how did the fire break out?” My friend stared at the man for a moment, then turned back to the burning, collapsing building. His silence seemed to answer the man’s question, or maybe the question was no longer necessary. He gawked at the gutted building for a while, then got

Journal

ManoaUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Sep 29, 2015

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