Home Sweet Home by Damon Libby
As he watched the building burn, Jack pulled up his lawn chair and sat down.
It had been Tues earlier that week when it had all started. The paint company had been gracious enough to deliver all the pots of sky blue paint directly to his new home and he had stored them in the garage.
Jack loved his new home, and the last year of work building it to his exact specifications filled him with giddiness.
He agonised for hours over every detail, how long the curtains should hang, how many sinks it should have. Everything was mapped out and carried out with military precision. Some people might even say it was the worst case of OCD they had ever seen. But Jack would never say or even really admit such a thing. A place for everything and everything in its place. That was Jack all over. Many of his friendships had been thrown to the side in his efforts to attain the perfect house. At the age of 40 he thought it was just fine if people didn’t share his enthusiasm for perfect colour matches and spotless glass.
A particular falling out was with his neighbour, over the exact edge of his grass and how uneven it was because his neighbour refused to use the grass clippers he had so kindly bought for him. Words of encouragement were soon met with blank stares and then loud words of where he could shove his clippers.
Jack felt hurt, they had been best friends for the last 2 years, and he felt very misunderstood.
In fact Jack felt the world didn’t understand him, that he was always on the edge of losing the control that his lifestyle was centred around. Deep down maybe he knew that it didn’t really matter that the carpet was exactly 4 cm thick in every room. Deep down he knew that he was heading for a wall, as the pleasure injection from each procedure faded leaving him craving more.
So when he was painting the final coats on the garage, and the hot ash from his cigarette fell into the pile of rags unnoticed and formed a flame when we had gone to the shop, and then caught the turpentine rags, and within 30 mins had engulfed all the garage and a good chunk of the house, Jack strangely felt relief.