I’d only been living in my new house for three weeks when I set fire to the neighbour’s garden.
My housemate and I had made a last minute, spontaneous decision to go out for a few drinks on Saturday evening. During the several hours it took to apply our make up just right and curl our hair to create enough volume, we decided to take a little break. And that’s where it all went wrong.
So there we were, stood with our hair in curlers and make up half applied, glasses of wine in hand and wearing what can only be described as an interesting ensemble of clothes. Sporting a dress over jeans whilst wearing one purple shoe and one red shoe, I had not got round to asking my friend which of the collection I should wear when she told me she had an idea and we ventured downstairs and into the garden.
The Chinese lanterns I had seen before had been floating beautifully and peacefully into the sky with a sense of calm, but then those lanterns hadn’t been touched by our powers of destruction. It also hadn’t been windy when I had seen them, which was the leading problem in our disaster.
It took some time to light the lantern with the breeze but eventually we got there.
Following the normal tradition, we made a wish and after several attempts of letting go it eventually began to float into the air. Our eyes followed it upwards when suddenly a gust of wind appeared and carried it around the side of the house at high speed.
Both my friend and I looked at each other in horror before rushing out of the garden to follow the lantern.
Conscious of the flammable fire trap we had just released into the street, I didn’t stop to think about what I must have looked like. Instead, without sparing a thought on my curler crowded head and mismatching dress, jeans and shoes combo, I clambered after the lantern as the wind pushed it towards a car driving down the road. Bouncing off of the car it wrapped itself around a lamppost. The wine swished out of my glass as I reached to grab it, missing it as it slipped
back into the wind and went hurtling into a neighbour’s front garden.
The branches of a perfectly pruned plant pierced the lantern and poked into the flames. Within seconds the smell of burning spread across the street as the angry flames consumed the plant. There was nothing peaceful about this lantern.
Just as I was contemplating whether or not to attempt the ‘drop and roll’ technique to put out the flames, the door of the house opened.
How would I ever begin to explain this? Even with the most logical of explanations, my neighbour was never going to take my apology serious whilst I stood there like a piece of Velcro that had jumped in the wardrobe. All we were trying to do was set off a little peaceful lantern in the hope our wishes may come
true. Who was to know it would turn into arson?
Feeling a swish of panic fly through me, I looked up at the door with an apologetic expression and opened my mouth to begin my explanation, but my words wouldn’t come out. As I stared at the person standing there, it dawned on me. Perhaps my wish had just been granted…