Touching Fire

There’s this old saying: some people know it does.Some people see it does. And some people need to touch the fire to know it burns.


I’ve always been the one who touches it.


For as long as I can remember, I have stuck my hands in the flames, desperately hoping that they wouldn't burn me. But every time they have. These burns aren't scars on my hands, they're the words of my old friends who've shunned and ridiculed me, the  paralyzing roar of every monster who has taken human form in my life, the sideways glances at the circus freak that followed me down the halls, the bitter words that my mother spoke when she said they would get theirs one day but I wanted one day to be now. These burns swallow me, consume me, and spit me out with no thought


These burns burn and bite, constant reminders of my past. But I still thrust my hands in the fire anyway,  praying that I will be warmed with love rather than burned with hatred and apathy. I hope that the scars will become a shield to my already hardened skin, that I can mirror the fire’s  chill toward me.


But I do feel that God awful sensation, again and again, and I can’t seem to quell the fire inside of me. Maybe I want to get burned, because it’s the closest thing to warmth I have in such a cold world. Or maybe that stubborn thing called hope has yet to die inside of me, and that equally maddening thing called determination keeps me trying like Sisyphus and his boulder. Or maybe I’m just a stubborn fool, who can’t seem to take the universe’s hint.

But at some point you stop trying to get warmth and stand in the cold. But that day has yet to come for me. These new burns and scars are just proof of my stupidity and my want for the love. But love, friendship, simple human kindness? Those seem to only be in me, and they're as stubborn as I am.


Nicole Zamlout