The red flames dance, tither hither. Around, a street family huddled together. The eldest, pokes a stick into the fire and the sparks red and spiky jump above the flames. The youngest clutches firmly at the rugs covering his lean figure. One, probably the black sheep of this pack, inhales the glue in a Dasani bottle like her life depended on it. The other, a young woman distance and detached, stared icily into the flame. Her mind lost in places beyond. I could tell by the way she smirked her cracked lips while pressing her legs so close together just how much she desired to be held.

The fine things in life she wanted but could never had. The cold nights, in the carton boxes that were disrupted by monsters looking for gold in dirt. The many times, she had to press her legs together to keep at bay the beasts that knew no consent and had not enough manners to ask for a dance.

The wild soul just danced around the fire, singing symphonies that colored the sufferings he had known. He just wanted to forget, the nights he slept hungry. All he wanted was to dance his way into happiness. Withdrawn by the forlorn mood at the fire, he sits on a tin of Basco Paint and does what he knows best. I am just a bystander, a fellow human being, standing across the road struck by awe at the same time muzzled with how the other half of the world lives.

The wild one, sixteen or seventeen years of age decides to take charge. He, the captain of this ship decides to steer the pack to the land beyond. He smiles and looks around, everyone around the fire fidgets. He opens his mouth and spats of saliva are visible in the air. As he vividly narrates a story to his family, his big eyes danced, widened, squint and sometimes, he smiled, crumbled his face into a frown. From where I stood, I felt uplifted. It felt like the wild one had this burst of energy that he kept on feeding into others. His kin would laugh, frown, boo and heckle as he painted his experiences in words. That reminded me, the beauty of sitting around a fire and getting lost in time travel. Stories are time travel, and storytelling are the word paintings that carry us into the wonder.

Sometimes we tell these stories to feel good about ourselves. Other times we paint our experiences to meet the soul mate in the wanderlust. Most times, we just want to escape from our bittersweet experiences. This family wanted to feel warm, happy and untangle from the chains of poverty and clasps of suffering that held them so dear.