Day Fifty: Enhanced Vision During a Celebratory Bonfire or: “For Larry”

by Tom Noonan

Larry brandished a hard candy from his pocket.  He fumbled with the wrapper, struggling with its folds and twists.  His eyes were sunken, hiding from the peripheries he refused to imagine.  Everything he saw, everything that sunk in, was straight ahead, on a line segment, slowly moving.

“They’re not as big as they used to be, the bonfires,” he spoke, telling a legend that existed more to him like a framed instant of color rather than a full event, like something he might glance out his window.  “As I recall, they used to gather wood from around the town.  They’d even steal some from houses.  Now they have it brought in, shipped up here.”

During the bonfire, he stood in a crowd but was self-contained in the flame.  Its heat leaked from the barricades and filled his jacket, his shoes, his hat.  The embrace of warmth widened his gaze, the entire area felt manageable.  A student handed him a beer.  The carbonation crested and broke between his teeth, matching the crackle of burning wood.  He never cries.  The heat came to rest, permanently, in his sparkling eyes.