The End By Lauren Metal

*** *** *** ***

Summary: The closing of the 55 firehouse

*** *** *** ***

It's almost funny how sitting on the floor puts things in a different perspective. I've spent hour upon hour, night after night in this place and yet, from here, I'm seeing things like I've never seen them before.

I never noticed the narrow crack the runs the ceiling the length of the room or the chipped tiles on the floor. Paint peels from the walls in the most unsuspecting of places, now bare of the posters and photographs that hung there for so long.

Now that this place is vacant, the little things are glaringly evident to even my uncaring eyes.

It doesn't matter anymore. None of it matters. Not the spaghetti sauce stain that mars the once white ceiling, another one of Carlos's dinners gone awry. The broken window doesn't mean a thing either. No one cares that Jimmy and DK broke it playing football last week. This place will all be boarded up soon anyhow.

An old dining room table used to sit here, mismatched chairs at its side. It's gone now, and so is everything else. The tattered sofas went to another firehouse and we donated the pots, pans, dishes, and food to the shelter down the street.

The cobwebs and a few dust bunnies in the corner are our only company now. It's dark, quiet, still. It's a far cry from the usual chaos that reigned within the walls we have long called home.

The trucks and busses are gone. The sirens and whistles are silent and we rode our last call days ago.

We're not sure what to do now, or what to say. We linger idly and wish there was at least another box to pack, another floor to scrub. But there's not. It's time for things to come to an end.

And so we walk down the stairs slowly. Jimmy slides down the fire pole one last time. DK makes a crack about him liking the feel of it between his legs. Doc smirks and the rest of us burst out in a fit of laughter as we near the door.

It's like old times. It's sad that moments like this have become "old times" but they have. Times change. Things change. This city has changed and now it's forcing our family apart.

We say our goodbyes and linger outside the house. We've never had to close this place up before. This building doesn't know what it means to be empty. But I know it. I feel emptier then this place looks even with the last boxes moved out.

We promise not to lose touch, but come next week we'll have separate lives. Different houses, different shifts, different people watching our backs. It's a big city and without the 55 we're bound to drift apart.

There is not a dry eye on the street as Lieu padlocks the door.

We'll be okay, we'll make new friends, new brothers at our new houses.

But still, I don't want to go.

*** *** *** ***

Writing is a great outlet for emotions. My family packed up and moved from the house I grew up in this week. This idea came to mind while I was sitting on the floor in my empty house, listening to my own voice echo in a way I've never heard in this place as long as I've been here.