Ada peeled the boots from her swollen ankles and launched them across the room. The first thing she did was burn all of her Charles Bukowski books, and the second was to take a shower. The water felt sticky and sweet, dried apple juice on her porcelain body. Cheap.
The flames from the Bukowski books licked at the curtains, and she used it to ignite her last clove. After this one she would quit. She sucked the life out of the clove, inhaled until she was smoking the filter. She put it out with her bare heel.
The room was hot now, and from behind her closed eye-lids, Ada could see the bright flickers of the Charles Bukowski poems and her curtains, and her life burning into the same gray ash.
The flames climbed up the walls and she pictured her life burning then floating away on a pierce of air, a feather, suddenly something you could blow away.
Eyelash. Ada thought, and felt her own shriveling up under the excruciating heat. The fire was close, live and wicked.
Then the lyrics and words had dripped down the walls, lava and quicksilver, splashing onto the floor. Then it all went blue, night falling hard and knocking out the world. There were stars, and Ada reached up to them, and they were cold and hard, they seemed to melt when they touched her, and cleaned off parts of her blackened skin. Ada licked her face and realized the stars were water.
* * *
Now they all sing happy birthday and bring out a cake to mark the year since she’d seen heaven. The cake is vanilla with little pink sugar-roses, like the burn that still is a scar on her heel.
Happy birthday Ada. They say.
Nineteen already? They ask.
Now, make a wish.
They would have asked her to blow out the candles, but they are not lit.