How to describe watching a house be consumed by flames?
How many years did we spend in the shadow of that house, exploring and planting and wandering and dreaming? She was the dignified old matriarch of the farm, though her once-fine silks were threadbare, and her gemstones mere paste. She was the house Jasper and his siblings grew up in. She sheltered the hopes and dreams, once, of his mother and father, and countless other families before them.
In other words, it was hard. Much harder than I expected, though I wasn’t ever gleeful about it to begin with. I had a hollow bubble in the pit of stomach the whole time and I won’t lie, I had a moment of regret when the first flames started licking up the walls. Were we doing the right thing?
I thought so. I think so, still.
The whole thing started with just the faintest smell of smoke on the wind as the firefighters lit the fire. I saw a puddle of fire on the floor just inside the kitchen door and then suddenly the flames were crawling up the walls in the living room and pooling under the porch roof. In no time it was upstairs and bursting through the roof, and then the whole building seemed to be engulfed.
I could hear great cracks and pops as the floors and chimney gave way, and smaller salvos as window glass burst, the cast iron bathtub broke through, and the toilet fell and shattered into the basement.
The great apex came when the roof of the second story finally caved in and sent a huge clap of fire skyward. We were standing at least 200 feet away, uphill, and still could feel the intense heat rush around us. In no time after that, the house was gone.
An old era, ended. And a new one just begun.