by SM Burke
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
He crouches in the corner of polished, refinished room. The sunlight pours through three windows illuminating the white and yellow walls. The furniture is set at perfect, ascetically pleasing angles. She takes a deep breath and smiles, everything is so wonderful….almost perfect if he wasn’t there. He breathes fire and chars the lovely new furniture every time he speaks. It’s almost impossible to keep the room clean with him in the corner. He speaks to her as if they were old friends, talking about all the things they used to do. All of those sorrow-filled things.
He knows she doesn’t respond to the desire anymore; those things hold no merit to her in comparison to what she has in her new, clean house. So he breathes fire of guilt and pain. It chars the walls and the furniture. She slips a painting over the one on the wall or a slip cover on the one on the couch, but she can still sense the fire. He likes to tease her by reminding her of the things that used to bring her joy. He reminds her of the temporary high-of what she used to have. But was it worth it? Was it truly worth it in light of what she had now in her keeping?
She couldn’t go back to what she once was, part of her wanted to-would always want to, just to recapture the moment. What did she even gain from those things? Friendship? Love? Acceptance? She wasn’t so separate from everyone in her new house. She had a lot of nice neighbors, a lot of really wonderful people who came over often to help her keep the place clean. They knew he lurked in the corner and breathed fire on her things; he lurked in everyone’s house. They supported each other in that way.
Sometimes she would walk down the street to her other friend’s houses; it was a completely different world there. She saw some of the houses were in better condition, people who made small efforts to stop the burning. But a lot of them just let the fire rage without fearing the consequence. As soon as she walked down the street her clean white dress started turning gray as the ashes blew onto her, coloring her skin black.
It was so hard to go there without letting the ashes get on her, nearly impossible. She would try, but once she began to get dirty, something deep inside her stirred and she almost desired to be back in her old neighborhood. Logically, she knew her new neighbors; her new house far surpassed what she had once lived in-she almost pitied the people in her old neighborhood for not knowing they didn’t always have to burn.
It was fun sometimes to lose herself among the ashes, to feel for just a moment that things were as they used to be, but she knew she had to make a choice. If only it wasn’t so difficult. Was it really that hard? The choice seemed like a logical one, why would she live among the ashes when she could be pure and clean and white? But there was something so seductive about not having to worry about how clean your house stayed, not worrying if your face was smudged gray and your dress was so dirty it turned black. In the ashes she was free but also smothered by the fumes of desire for something…more.
When she would walk back up the street to her house she would walk in and everywhere she stepped, she spread her mess. Her neighbors would come over, clean her floors and wash her dress but he was still sitting in the corner.
He made her feel so guilty. He made her heart twist in madness and grief. He breathed fire onto her walls, her bed, and her couch so everywhere she looked she would be reminded of her time in the ashes. It was no longer temptation to go back-he knew she was trying so hard to resist and her logical mind and heart could outdo him. It was what he reminded her of that caused her pain.
He reminded her of too much. There was too much fire. Too much ash. She couldn’t clean fast enough. She couldn’t make it go away fast enough. Even when she called and asked for help, he worked over time in making sure there was too much of a mess for her to even begin to confront the issues. When she called her Father He would come over, and with a smile on His face make everything right again.
He was wonderful, He loved her more than anything and she knew He would never dream of breathing fire into her life. It was so simple while He was near to forget about the ashes, forget about all those other things that had kept her captive. She knew she saw in His eyes complete forgiveness for those days even now, when she played in the ashes.
She would follow Him anywhere; do anything for Him because she knew she could trust Him. Everything was so simple when she let Him into the house He had given her. But sometimes, she left Him knocking. Sometimes she got the silly idea that she could do it on her own, without Him fighting for her. She never won, the fire always got so bad that she had to call Him in.
Even when she came back from the old neighborhood covered in ash, looking just as He had found her, He never hesitated to wash her new again. He was always there for her, even when she wanted to fight the fire all by herself. He would never leave her, she knew He wouldn’t.
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