The Fire

The fire was significant in his life for one reason: it affected his personality.

It happened when he was still a teenager. He was staying in his aunt’s house one weekend in summer. At that time, he was in the bathroom answering nature’s call. All of a sudden he heard his aunt yelling “Fire! Fire! Fire!” In his panic, he bolted out of the bathroom, ran through the house, got out of the gate, and stood outside the sari-sari store across the street to see where the fire was coming from, forgetting that he had no pants on.

He saw the fire immediately. It emanated from the balcony of the apartment next door. The fire, although small, was fierce, and two men were trying to put it out with pails of water. The cries that he heard around him slowly turned into hysterical laughter as his neighbors realized that he was unclad from the waist down.

This is the reason why, to this day, he instinctively looks down at his pants every time he hears someone laugh; why he immediately gets nervous and teary-eyed each time he hears someone giggle. It’s an idiosyncrasy he cannot get rid of or unlearn. So please, don’t make matters worse for him by laughing at him each time he does that. You have no idea how traumatic the fire was for him.


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