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A friend and I had been out to dinner while she was home visiting from college. We returned home to my apartment to find my roommate waiting, phone in hand. Both mine and my friend’s parents had been calling. My friend’s little brother had gotten ahold of a box of matches and tossed one onto the couch. The house was a total loss.

I visited the following day and am still haunted by images of family photos melted down the wall, blackened skeletons of furniture and the Twilight Zone imposter of a house that I knew so well.

As a result, I’ve always been paranoid about matches and lighters in our home. Having three little boys I know that if it can happen, it will. If they can destroy it, they will. And I know better than to underestimate my little darlings.

Well, I slipped up. I had the matches out last night and left them on top of a stack of boxes on the edge of my husband’s desk. They were safe there and I just wasn’t headed the right direction to put them away.

So, today I walked into the office to find Jack standing on the desk, a streak of disappearing Christopher in the periphery and the smell of smoke hanging in the air. I don’t know how they spotted the matches. I don’t know how they figured out to light one. And I don’t know what happened to the offending match. But everything seems to be okay. Everyone is safe. And the matches are put away.

So help me, this better be my last learning experience on that subject.

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