On the first real day of spring we went out to the sand dunes outside of town and we had a bonfire. It was still a bit chilly out but we had our jackets and the fire was warm and it was nice. It was really spring. You could even feel it in the nighttime. We drank beer and roasted hot dogs. As the night wore on we did some other things, as well.

One by one our friends trickled off for the night, but there was a silent agreement between the two of us that we'd stay. It was one of those things I just knew. And then we were alone, just us and the stars and the fire, still burning bright in front of us. And we'd both had a few too many drinks. We started kissing before I was really even aware of it. Then we were on the sand and my hand found a sharp rock and started bleeding. Which would have been fine, but when I scrambled to get up it also found the fire.

I only later reflected that the fire didn't hurt at all. The stars went black and so did the ground until the only thing was the bonfire, burning bright with beautiful and terrible shapes--of people, some of whom I thought I recognized, but none staying long enough for me to know for sure. I held her hand tight with my bloody hand and we stood and stared.

The heat was almost unbearable and I wanted to turn away, but soon we started hearing voices calling to us from within the fire--calling our names. Without saying anything else we both decided to step into the fire, pressing deeper into it until it was all we could see or feel--just the burning fire and our hands and lips and bodies pressed against each other. And around us the flame whispered secrets--everything we could possibly know about the world. It was too much to keep but I hoped that in the heat of the moment I managed to hold on to something, at least.

At some point the stars came back. The bonfire died down to embers. We were alone and naked on the dunes, far from where we'd started, but perfectly warm. I didn't remember anything the flames whispered. But she was still here and we were still in each other's arms, and I smiled in spite of everything.

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