"You should probably get some clothes on, our house will be full of firemen any minute." The words poured through my slightly upturned lips as I stood in the room our future children would stand to mix a batch of something sweet.
He stood in the middle of the charred kitchen in disbelief and shot me an incredulous glance at my statement. Laughter was the only thing that could follow. Well, that and some fulfilling of these new wifely duties by taking extra special care of the burn on his arm. Plus it was my fault. The fire that is.
It was only four short weeks since we said those magical words that would join us as one for the rest of our lives and we were still high on tropical paradise fumes from the honeymoon. Our guests were set to arrive in just under an hour, and I had everything in the kitchen under control. The juiciest cuts of chicken, seasoned with a bit of Tequila and lime, were beginning their marathon in the oven, the fresh salsa was diced and stirred and waiting on the table, the avocados were mashed and splashed with fresh juices of lemon and lime and mixed with the rest of my secret ingredients for the best guacamole. Ever. There was just one more thing. Something new I wanted to try. Fried plantains.
I didn't have a great frying pan, but that wouldn't stop me. I wanted to give them that perfectly sugared glaze. I poured some fresh oil in the pan, slid the glass lid over and turned up the heat.
I felt him behind me, his hands grazed the small of my back as he leaned in to kiss my neck. It was just a quick hello and goodbye as he made his way up to the shower. With a cool flick of my finger, I turned up the radio.
By the time I remembered about the pan on the stove, I lifted the lid and before I could even realize what was happening the entire range seemed to have been swallowed in a sea of fire. I tried to squelch the flames in the pan, but couldn't seem to get close enough to get the lid back over the epicenter and in a feeble attempt, let the lid fall to it's demise as it crashed down over the fire and broke into pieces in the flames. "Great."
I did what any smart, self-respecting wife would do and ran screaming up the stairs and bust through the door into the bathroom where my hero was mid-wash with a pile of suds in his hair.
"THERE'S A FIRE IN THE KITCHEN!!" I yelled, as though the shower would keep him from hearing me though I was just inches from his face.
He peeked out through the foamy suds and asked, "Then why are you in here?!"
"I can't put it out." And I ran back to the kitchen to stand lost in a blaze of shock and horror. No sooner had I made it back to the kitchen and he was there on my heels, dripping wet. By now the fury was even larger and creeping up to the cabinets surrounding the stove.
"Where's the lid?!" He asked as I pointed to the shattered heap of glass sticking this way and that out of the frying pan.
"Where's the baking soda?!" Was the next question and I pointed to the cupboard about to be consumed in the dancing flickers, one that couldn't be reached without certain pain.
He reached out for the pan handle and in one smooth, quick motion raced the pan to the sink to pour the burning oil down the drain. And it worked, but not before a few of the flames danced their way onto his arm, and in a cry of pain he tipped the pan in the direction of the sink. Oil splashed across the rest of the kitchen leaving a speckled coat on the cupboards and large flames ripping through the kitchen in it's wake. I heard a shriek and when I looked down my hands had already dialed 9-1-1 as I prepared to yell into the receiver that our kitchen was on fire... only then did I realize the shriek I heard came from me.
With music blasting through our radio, the smoke alarm screaming behind me and the sound of fire engine's making there way down the nearest main street, the fire soon consumed every bit of oil that had splashed through our kitchen and miraculously began to dissipate. We patted out the last remnants with his wet towel and stood there, in the middle of our kitchen, waiting.
My groom did manage to clothe himself just in time for the two howling red trucks to pull up, dumping out firemen, and one firewoman, to rush to our rescue. They inspected the house, finished bandaging my hero's throbbing arm and gave us a few sideways glances... all while our dinner guests waited outside.
I don't think we've laughed through a dinner as hard as we laughed through this one. And in my husband's case, it was laughing and wincing.
But it's memories like this that have been flooding my mind as we've been packing the last dish from our still slightly scarred cupboards.
And memories of a pajama clad, blankie toting Aliyah as she's ready for bed and waiting for a bottle... on our tile floor before the late night decision for a hardwood floor remodel.
And many messy rounds of cooking.
The remembrance of wearing my newborn, slung close to my chest, while stirring a pot of something savory.
And many snuggly Christmas mornings.
As I take the last of our appliances off of our counter and slide them between thin walls of cardboard, I think of all the times my little miss independent sat up there to make herself a sandwich or help mix up a batch of cookies. And while I'll miss this place where she's grown up, where we've begun to write the long and beautiful pages of her life, I'm so excited for the new chapter we're about to write.