She didn’t have many toys growing up. She had a broken doll and a calculator. It was a bit nerdy to consider a calculator a toy, but it was in her world. Her friends would come to play with the calculator. They would set it to run certain numbers while trying to stop it at a certain point in time. It was as if they were trying to gain powers to stop time.
She also had matchsticks as a child. Her stepdad would leave his matches besides his Marlboro cigarettes forgetting where he had left them. It was easy for her to take them. She would carry them in her jean pocket. She felt safer with the matches on her. She was scared he would fall asleep with a cigarette in his hand and then blow everything up. Not that there was much in their apartment to blow up. She came to love the mesmerizing sight of fire. She didn’t want to burn the place down. She wanted to control the fire, the ire. She held onto the matches throughout the years, at times caressing the matches. There was comfort in that caress.
There was something striking about the force of matchsticks. There was no flimsiness to them. She often held matchsticks to her lips to feel their force, their power.
That was the image he awoke to. She had a small smile as she rubbed the matchstick against her lips and face. He knew what that smile was about and tried to get up quickly. But couldn’t.
She dropped the lit match. It was time for that place of horrors to go down in flames. She ran and ran. She had both stopped time and released it. She pulled from her jeans the matchbook and finally left them behind.