The Extinct Fire

Sára Eszter Radó

8:50 p.m., Thursday, 24 May 2007. Chris Morrow, a student of USC, majored in biology. He is an atheist. He believes in facts and proven research. He was raised in a Mormon household but left his community at eighteen, when he decided to separate from the church. His family  disowned him for his decision. He doesn’t want to return. He is happy with his life now.

He is having a martini in his favourite bar in downtown LA, waiting for his mates to arrive to celedrate his twenty-third birthday, when Emily Akes, a twenty-two-year-old  student of UCLA majoring in theology, steps in. She was raised in a Christian household and still follows the teachings of the Holy Bible. She attends church twice a week, every Wednesday and Sunday. She is also happy with her life now.

She is there for a night out with her girlfriends, but she is the first to arrive. She takes an empty seat at the bar counter and orders a raspberry lemonade. To her left is Chris sipping his martini. He compliments her choice of lemonade, since that’s also his favorite, then asks if she is also waiting for someone. She politely answers, then looks up at Chris, thinking about how to get out of this conversation, but when their eyes meet, she doesn’t want to get out of it anymore; it’s more like she wants to continue. For Chris it’s love at first sight, not knowing what’s yet to come. They keep talking and talking until they are forced to separate by their friends, who arrived not long ago. It’s 12:51 a.m., the bar is closing, everyone has left.

Chris has just arrived home but his mind is pacing. Its pacing about Emily, the girl from the bar whose name or phone number he doesn’t know. He can’t stop his mind, she is all over. He tries to sleep, it’s 2 a.m. and it’s still going…

8:34, Thursday, 7 June 2007. Two weeks after their first meeting. Chris sees Emily at the bus stop in front of his local shop. He approaches her and introduces himself, Emily is surprised but also excited to see the handsome guy from the bar again. Chris gathers his courage and asks Emily out for a coffee that afternoon, and she gladly agrees.

4:45 p.m., Philz Cofee, Los Angeles. Chris and Emily are talking, enjoying themselves. They have been there for three hours. Talking about friends, hobbies, food, sports, then school comes up. Chris is a bit worried when she mentions that she is majoring in theology, but tries to push his worry aside. Then religion comes up and Chris doesn’t have a good feeling about it. Listening to Emily’s stories about her church community makes him feel suffocated, just as his family made him feel. He is reminded of the reason he left them and his old life behind. He doesn’t want to be trapped again.

8:02 p.m. Chris and Emily are about to go home, but they agree to call each other, and they exchange numbers. Chris no longer has the courage to tell her what he thought after the date, but by then Chris knows that the initial fire he felt in his heart that night came so fast and is now gone.

Epilogue: Emily called and texted. None of her calls or messages did Chris ever return, only because of the fear of being trapped again in something he didn’t want.