Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I read somewhere, once, that when the Berlin Wall came down the people of West Berlin met the people of East Berlin at the now open spaces with bananas, because in East Berlin bananas were a delicacy. Big yellow bundles of welcome back to the world.

I remember one night, walking bareheaded in the thinly falling snow, and the streetlight made the flakes glow in a nimbus around your head like you'd just had a really good idea. I was only as tall as your chest and pretty sure there was no matching glow around my head, so I reached up into your halo. I think I was expecting the light to warm my fingers, but they met only more snow, and you flinched from my unexpected movement.

They say that humans don't spontaneously combust, but that when they get lit on fire the heat melts the fat inside their skin and then their clothes soak it all up, acting like a candle, burning hot and low for hours and hours. When it's done with little else in the room is burned but the whole body and its bones are gone, turned to rubble, leaving only sometimes part of a leg behind. None of that really gets the point across like spontaneous human combustion, as far as images go. Far better to burst into flames unprovoked than to accidentally spark and then belabor the point.

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