Autobiography & Memoir
I was watching leaping flames licking I don't know what because visually it was all so abstract but the soundscape reminded me of the whoosh I heard when I was 19 whilst making up to go out one evening in my dingy bedsit in Withington, Manchester during the 1960s during the coldest winter recorded in history in the UK.
I had stupidly stuffed pages from The Guardian between the gas fire and the gap of the Victorian fire place. I heard a wooph and a whoosh and saw, in the reflection in the mirror, tongues of flames licking the beige mantlepiece. I screamed "Estelle, Estelle, fire, fire" and went on auto-pilot.
I must have switched off the gas like a good girl and rushed to get a bucket of water whilst still screaming for Estelle. When she finally arrived I was prone on the bed shaking with wet cinders all over the floor and a fear of fire that was to dog me forever.
How I managed the Fire Walk in Brussels in later years, I do not know.
Written May 2015, Buyuk Londra Hotel, Istanbul.