I grew this
shell for protection. I burn inside and then I cannot get out because of
the very shell that I grew. He called it shelter and placed it
into a wood with trees that would not burn. This wood had no time but a
beautiful couple with fire. He borrowed from their heat - as if it could ever be
anyone’s - and set the house on fire. Ladders grew from window frames. They grew and ended
up nowhere. I wanted to climb them but I could not. Everything was locked. He told me
this joke of ping pong balls making fume while flinging from walls and I imagined.
A hundred thousand ping pong balls trying to enter my body. Through nostrils, ears,
the little space between eyeballs and skin. I was speechless, breathless, when I
opened my mouth the balls started crawling in. The fire came closer. Heat
began tingling my skin. I was still locked into the shelter. So this would be my fate,
I thought, burn or be conquered by a hundred thousand ping pong balls. Isn't it funny. But I couldn't laugh. Sensation
set in. It started with the cheeks and the right shoulder. My hair, I recognised this distinctive smell, soon, all over my body, all of it would be gone. And I opened my mouth, and widened
my ears and my nostrils and eyes even wider.