An Amateur Alchemist
1 : a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life
2 : a power or process of transforming something common into something special
3 : an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting
I spent a generous portion of my adolescence trying to blow up our house.
Well, more specifically, our bathroom.
Due to the dubious influence of Mr. Wizard’s World (I mean, really, what business does any adult have teaching children how to blow stuff up anyway?), I fancied myself an amateur alchemist. A shaving gel cap became my beaker. A cup of rubbing alcohol, some baby powder, a smidge of aftershave, a splash of Avon Skin So Soft. Stir with a toothbrush handle and…
Little wonder that my family, generally oblivious, grew suspicious of any activity behind a closed or—heaven forbid—locked bathroom door. Although I felt certain that my chemistry experiments were my secret (thinking back on it now, I’m sure they must have noticed we went through toiletries like we did toilet paper), I had to ensure the security of my potions. After all, if I did succeed in blowing up the house one day, wouldn’t it be important to protect the information from someone who might want it for nefarious purposes?
Day after day, I tried to find the perfect concoction, certain that eventually, a hiss, fizzle, puff of smoke, and boom would prove my genius.
However, none of these bathroom compounds proved as combustible as my internal world. The intense fears of abandonment, self-loathing because of my dark skin in a pale world, scars from abuse—all threatened to create an explosion exceeding any I could create with those paltry powders and lotions.