When I was a kid I was scared of fires.

This doesn’t sound that strange, except for the fact that I would lose sleep over this unrealistic fear of the apartment starting on fire and me being trapped inside my room, forced to jump off of the balcony. I often thought about escape routes, although there weren’t many. I would think about if I could reach the bush that my mom once climbed up to let us back into the apartment when my dad accidentally locked us out. Every year in elementary school they go over fire safety with the classes, and that shit gave me anxiety.  The firefighters and instructor had my full and undivided attention, as well as every other kids’ attention in the room, but did those kids feel what I felt? Did they go home and map out their houses/apartments and think about every possible place a fire could start? Did they think about how far of a jump it would be from the second floor to the grass outside? Did they wake up out of a dead sleep and immediately fear that they’d see smoke in their room? I remember wanting to get one of those rope ladders that you just throw over the balcony in case of an emergency. My dad assumed that I wanted it so I could sneak out at night and hang out with the neighbors, because at 9 years old that is exactly what I was thinking about.

That last line was sarcasm, but I guess some 9-year-olds probably did think about sneaking out already. All I was thinking about was how to escape a non-existent fire. 14 years later I still haven’t been in a fire, and I no longer lose sleep over the thought of fires. Now I lose sleep over everything else.

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