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Kindling the Flame

Flame Thrower

THAILAND | Thursday, 21 May 2015 | Views [142] | Scholarship Entry

The thing about revelations is that they happen when you least expect it. A moment, out of nowhere, that changes your perspective, your path, your life.

It was a balmy summer's evening on the island of Samui. The air felt thick with magical possibility, an almost tangible sense of anticipation floating on the summer heat. And on a tiny patch of sand under the inky black sky, the revelation came.

The small crowd was quiet, relaxed, as they chatted about their days over fried garlic rice and cold beer. Although most of them had never met before, the atmosphere was more like that of a group of friends than a bunch of strangers.
As the sun set over the island, the group, who had been sitting inside at tables now scattered with empty dishes, moved towards the back of the tiny restaurant. In the semi-darkness a number of hammocks, loungers and chairs were clustered on the beach, only a few metres from the water.

Waiting in anticipation on my wooden-stair seat, I heard whispers from people behind me; "He's the second best on the island"; "... the youngest ever"; "... most talented ...". Having no idea what I was about to witness, I sat with bated breath as a boy emerged from behind a large rock on the beach, holding a flame.

Slow music began pulsating in the background as the boy, lit only by the light of the fire, lifted the flame as if by magic and twirled it in a circle, framing himself in a glowing ring of fire.

The crowd watched, transfixed, as this youngster in his cut-off jeans and bare chest danced with the flame, spinning it in directions and patterns that seemed otherworldly. It was as though we were witnessing a war between two life-forces; the boy, pouring himself into his crazy tango with the fire; the flame, fighting to escape the gravity that tied to its master. The red-hot fire seemed to have a life of its own as it battled the young flame thrower for power.

As the tempo grew to a frenzy, the flickering orange of the flame danced off the darkness and the boy seemed to move through the glow in slow motion. The final beat echoed on the sand as the flame was extinguished, and all that remained, suddenly, was the gentle lapping of the water in front of us.

As the darkness swallowed the flame and it's master, I knew this wasn't the end. I'd been part of something extraordinary, something laced with passion, freedom, life. The light may have faded but the heat remained. A spark had been conjured in my soul, and my own fire-storm had begun.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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