Relight my fire

I drove past a bonfire during the week. It was late at night and I was dazzled by what I saw. A dozen teenagers sat around a fire in a field in the old quarters of Strovolos and absorbed the heat. I’m sure there was much more to be absorbed too.

I felt uplifted because this phenomenon is a scarce one nowadays and it has nothing to do with Easter – it’s way too early for that. It brought a warm feeling to me too which I carried all the way home.

Beyond their sense of warmth, I contemplated their freedom of being, that ‘opposition’ to hanging out in the centre of town on the cold marble of Phaneromeni Square. It surprised me to see them so laid-back with it all; they didn’t seem to be worried about what they were doing. I wondered what their reaction would have been had I stopped to join them.

But the fire also brought a visual impression of their surroundings that empahsised the beauty of the city I live in.

It was like the yellowish-red colour of the fire imposed on the stone houses around it shed a new light on the street I pass through on so many occasions during the week.

It’s made an imprint in my mind which I hope will stay with me for a while. For it reminds me that if you just allow yourself to see things from a different ‘light’ just for a moment, you may be surprised to notice that there’s so much more that meets the eye and that light itself is a drive for everyone.

On what was the last traffic light before turning off the main street, the green light had stopped working. I was confused, I didn’t know whether to proceed or not. There, I contemplated that artificial light is just a means to go about your business. And that the light I was more concerned about was the one I had left behind in Strovolos.

And I made it home, no worries.

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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London