Memories of early childhood are among my favourite ones.
Not only because we all miss what we were, but because you can never tell whether they really happened that way or not. We were so young we experienced everything with innocent eyes.
I was a very inquisitive boy, I drove my dad mad about asking him why? a million times a day, and I annoyed my mum by experimenting with the kitchen stuff.
I was just three years of age when we were blessed with a new baby girl. I wasn’t alone anymore, as I had a newborn sister who was my greatest blessing. Before she was born, my parents wouldn’t let me alone for a second, but when she appeared at home, she was the focus of my parents’ attention, so I could hide and do some evil stuff since then.
Houses in Spain are not normally equipped with central heating, not because we don’t need it, as it can turn quite cold in winter, but because winter is normally so short that we preferred using bar heaters.
The bar was fascinating to me. “It glows red and it’s terribly hot… is that fire? I mean… real fire?” I wondered nearly everyday.
Night after night, the entire family sat together on the sofa. It was a grey one, not very comfortable I’d say, but good enough for all of us. We even had dinner sitting on it every night, with the bar heater warming the chamber.
My father used to keep an eye on me, as I was willing to throw a piece of paper or a tooth stick on the bar. I had this crazy theory to prove whether it was real fire or not. If something was thrown over it, and it burnt with a visible flame, then and only then I would accept that was fire.But science has always had to deal with oppression, and governors like my father didn’t like three and a half-year old scientists investigating fire.
The perfect plan
Spring arrived, flowers bloomed and little Paco sprung out of the sofa to play on the streets.
I wanted to go for the big deal, proving for once that fire was inside that warm device, so I had to confuse mum.
We went out every evening when the weather was good, mum took me to the park where I could run and jump while she could hold the baby while sitting on a bench with other mothers.
She was always busy with my sister in her arms, her bag carrying towels, medicines, milk… (two kids is hard work). So I knew there was that confusing moment at the door while coming out. The stroller was in the middle of the way, my sister was babbling, I was screaming as usual… and I told mum: “Just a second mum, I’m coming in for a while”
I came into without my mum supervision, I went directly to the bar heater and plugged it in. “If it is real fire it can burn a sofa”, I thought. So I put the heater in contact with soft surface of the family sofa and I went out of the living room as if nothing had happened. My mum saw me coming out and shut the door.
While we were walking down the street, I was just thinking that I didn’t really wanted to go to the park, I’d prefer to check on my experiment, but going to the park was the only thing to do as I thought it would need some time to burn… if it burnt after all.
Mum had been ironing clothes before we got out, and she suddenly thought she mightn’t have unplugged the iron and that fire could destroy the house. So she told me we were going back home.
I refused going back because I knew we were just round the corner and the sofa wouldn’t have had the time to burn, but we returned anyway.
When my mum opened the door, the house stank with smoke everywhere. She rushed to the iron and found it was unplugged… so what was that? She entered the living room and saw the heater burning the sofa.
I saw it too. It was a slow combustion, but still no flame. However; there was plenty of black smoke in the room. It was hard to breathe and my mum couldn’t see what the problem was. She got closer, putting me and my sister back, unplugged the heater and opened all the windows.
My and my sister were left in the kitchen while the smoke was still there, and I wasn’t happy enough. That was very close to fire, but I didn’t actually see flames anywhere!
My mum was in tears, and she didn’t understand how something like that could have happen. After going through all the possibilities, there was just one left: The kid?
So she approached me and asked me: “Did you put the heater by the sofa?” “Yes mum” I replied. Mum breathed deeply, and asked again, “Why did you do that?”, “because I wanted to know if the heater could burn the sofa”.I will not tell anymore, you can imagine my mum’s reaction, my dad’s reaction when we came back home after a working day, grandparents’ reaction and everybody blaming the little scientist in me…
Curiosity killed the cat.