16 October 2009

reminiscing: fire

Several years ago, I and one of my best friends had moved into our first apartment. It was on-campus at our university, and it was very small. A studio apartment, with high ceilings (which I believe are meant to make you think you have more space, but really make you feel like they're cheating you, since it would be so easy to install a small loft for storage). There was a cramped bathroom, and I swear, the clothes' closet was bigger than the kitchen. My roommate, E., calls small kitchens "one-butt kitchens." This was, at most, a half-butt kitchen. It was so narrow that you could not open the oven and the fridge at the same time, since they were across from each other. There was a shallow kitchen sink with no dividers (there are no dividers in the sink in my current apartment, but the sink is sizable).

Anyway, it was our first apartment, and while I remember it rather fondly, since it was my haven that year when I was horribly stressed and unhappy, I also remember that it was very small and crowded and that the next apartment we moved into, a one-bedroom smaller than the one where my husband and I live now (and we don't live in a big apartment), seemed huge in comparison.

But there are some stories about it. This one happened maybe a month or so after we'd moved in.

Since this was an apartment in a school building, there were rules. "No boys after 11 pm" was technically a rule, but since, as students in apartments, we were under no supervision, we broke that one a lot. "No candles" was a big one. I love candles, and when I moved into a building that allowed smoking, some of the first things I unpacked were candles and incense. We followed that rule because of the smoke detector. It went off once when we made toast. However, it did not go off when we fried fish and burned it and the entire room was filled with smoke. And it didn't go off this time, either.

E.'s then boyfriend (now fiance, soon-to-be husband), Peter, would come over a lot. He lived off-campus, so our apartment was his home-away-from-home. One afternoon, he was making Kraft Dinner and E. was at her computer and I was at mine, both of us working on homework (or possibly reading webcomics, not sure which). Peter isn't the greatest cook in the world (he once whipped cream to put on top of a pie and then asked me, "Hey, does whipping cream have sugar in it?" "No, you have to add it," I said, and he started scraping whipped cream off of the pie to remedy the lack of sugar), but he is better than some. Which is why I was surprised to hear, coming from the corner where the kitchen was, "Oh, hey. There's flames!"

I hurry over to find flames dancing from the little cavity beneath the burner. He's just staring at them. I sensibly grab a pot lid and cover the fire. No fire alarm, flames go out, we're good. And E. and I shake our heads, and tell stories about how her boyfriend set our stove on fire while making Kraft Dinner.

I've since set potholders on fire, but not the stove. I do hate electric stoves, though. I really want a gas stove again someday. On one of those, flames mean it's working properly.

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