Burning heart, p.4
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       Burning Heart, p.4

           Walter Morales
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will do it. I kept my mind cheering my up during the whole test.

  “Go,” said the evaluator.

  I grabbed the ladder, I walked two feet and the ladder almost touched the ground on my right side. Come on, stronger, come on! Then I went eight more feet trying to balance the thing. But at the end I made it. Good, next!

  I got on my knees and starting to crawl with the hose on my left shoulder, I was crawling when the plastic face shield of the helmet fell on my face, everything turned blurry, no time to fix it, besides you can’t take your right hand off the ground, just keep going, come on!

  I dropped the hose, stood up, fixed the shield and kept going. I had to run to the hammer. Pain, and is growing, almost over, come on! Come on!

  I thought it would take more time doing the hammer thing, but I did it quickly. The stairs were the hard part. I wasn’t allowed to skip steps, and I didn’t try to run because that would have killed me. I was taking step-by-step, as fast as I could but cautious at the same time. Every step was harder. I didn’t turn, but I’m pretty sure that was leaving a sweat track all over the stairs. It was incredibly hot inside of that suit. You can’t give up here, come on! When I reached the second floor I had to stop.

  The evaluator who was by my side during the entire course asked me, “Are you ok? One word and it’s over, if you can’t continue…”

  “I can! I’m fine!” I yelled, but I wasn’t really fine. I stopped because I felt a horrible pain. It was like a long needle going from my right knee all the way to my hip. Shut that hurt! What was that? I just kept going. I thought the way down would be easier, but it wasn’t.

  I was all sweat inside the suit and I felt heavier at every step. Second floor, oh come on Lina, one more floor. First floor, almost over, God don’t leave now.

  When I reached the final step I heard a “click” coming from the prosthesis. I didn’t know what it was, but it just got stuck. The prosthesis lost its mobility; it was nothing but a wooden leg now. I saw the evaluator’s watch, and I had forty-two seconds left. What a hell now? No time, move Lina, move, move, move!

  I walk as fast as I could. I was limping like a pirate. I got to the doll station and when I bent to take the doll, I lost the helmet.

  “It doesn’t matter,” yelled a fire fighter at the end of the course, “keep going! Come on!”

  It didn’t matter how I just had to take the doll to the other side. I grabbed it from its jacket and dragged it. Move, move you piece of rag, oh, why are you so heavy? All I remember is that I got to the finish line, dropped the doll and passed out.

  When I opened my eyes my mom was giving me water, and Beth was by my side too. “Mom?” I asked, “Why am I wearing dry clothes?”

  “Well, that stud muffin over there changed your clothes girl.” Said Beth.


  “She is kidding, honey,” said mom. “I did.”

  I could barely talk, I was still gasping. Then the fire chief approached, “Congratulations, 6:57, you passed Lina.”

  I think that I was so tired to feel emotions, or something, but all I managed to say was, “In your face…”

  Miss Hernandez

  My name is Natalie Hernandez and I’m the third grade teacher at Mt. Lodebar Elementary. We are a private school specialized in children with physical disabilities or as we called them, children with special capabilities.

  All my kids were very excited that day because we would have a firefighter in the class. He would be talking about what they do and how they help the community. The principal told me that we would have Fire Chief Meyers with us.

  Honestly, I was expecting someone different. She was very young maybe in the middle of her twenties. A beautiful young lady wearing a firefighter uniform, tall, brown hair, blue eyes, and a lot of medals on her chest.

  “Hello everybody,” she said, “my name is Lina, and I’m the assistant chief of the city’s fire department.”

  Unfortunately I had to leave. One of the parents was waiting for me at the principal’s office to discuss something, so I missed most part of her talk. When I got back to the class she was finishing.

  “So we use the pole instead of the stairs in order to avoid accidents, because during an emergency we are all running and we don’t want to get hurt. Could you imagine? A firefighter running to attend an emergency and suddenly he becomes an emergency!” She said and everybody laughed. The kids loved her.

  “Hey, do you want to see something cool?” She asked, and then she pull off her right boot and rolled up his pants showing us her prosthesis. Everybody had their mouths open, including me. We didn’t know that she has prosthesis.

  Then she said, “never allow anyone or anything to stand between you and your dreams, you are capable to do anything you want just the way you are.”

  I will never forget her visit. She made a very powerful impact on my students.


  About the Author

  Walter Morales is a Guatemalan writer living in Virginia. He spent over five years working with youths and teenagers in Guatemala. Apart from his work as a teacher and counselor, he wrote many articles, plays, and short stories for youth audiences.

  Now he is completing his last year of the Creative Writing Bachelor’s degree at Full Sail University.

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