Berkeley Fire
Ron Morelli

"I'm going to take you to Naples, just so we can see the blood of St. Januarius bubble," Denny says.  

Denny does this a lot to me, promise me things that is.  I don't think he's ever come through with any of them, but he keeps making promises, and I keep listening.  That's part of the deal we have, our soulful pact to memorialize all the possible potential could bes along our straggling relationship.   

He makes the Naples promise as we walk along the road, the old rocking chair held in his hands, me holding the mirror that use to hang in our Northside home before the fire came two days ago.  When he says Naples, I turn to see a cluster of pink flowers someone tossed by the side, and I wonder what the flowers commemorated: anniversary? Wedding? Birthday?   

"I'm going to buy us a villa.  We'll start over again.  Fresh.  We'll watch that old Saint's blood boil and bubble."   

And for one mad moment, the smoke and his words still thick in the air, I pause in mid step to turn back to fetch those flowers.  Neither of us says a thing as I do this, but when I return I have the flowers in my hands, and the mirror is gone.  Denny just smiles, drops the rocker off and takes my arm into his.  Promises or not, martyrs or saints, the Berkeley Fire has rekindled us somehow.  

First published: November, 2006
comments to the writer: Knob'