When I was younger, I often stay away from our kitchen stove. I had this tendency, as if on automatic impulse, to run away when my mom started turning the knob then lighting the orbital spiral with a spark of a match. I made sure to keep my distance, as if the little blue flame would engulf the entire pan above it.
People would often accuse me of not knowing how to cook when I turned the age of thirteen. They often associate the sign of adolescence with the sign of knowing how to survive. In our culture, survival is navigating your way in the kitchen. It was a worrying fact that I had no skills in that respect.
I blame my fear of matches.
So, I saw to it that I defy my inferior status against that fear.
When I turned fourteen, I decided to give myself a baptism of fire. I went to the kitchen and took the box of Corona Matches, its heavy font filling the box as if asserting its dominance. But I fought on, ignoring the shaking of my hands when I tried flicking one against the box, scratching the surface with a resistance of the fear spreading in my palm. As the tip meet with the friction, it was then crowned with a yellow flare, stirring up a sudden flicker in my eyes.
I placed the hair-like flame against the end of the cigarette I found, igniting a fume of burning ashes.
Sucking in the menthol taste of victory, I felt freedom when I let the flame die with a symbolic stomp of my right foot.