An ember, a quilt, and the fire in between


A tattered quilt lies basking in the heat of your sullen shadow: your apathy a kindle to a new, old fire. Phoenix-esque in nature, no matter how many times a stick is stolen or a water pail is tossed into the massacre, the fire glows. Sometimes it’s a fire; sometimes it’s an ember; sometimes it’s barely a spark. 

Always, it is red—you are red.

Fury melting the surrounding air, my deepest secrets perspire on my upper lip as I sit unable to fight for myself. With everything I need to parch the fire of its ever-hungry thirst, I come to realize that what is missing is me. I’m not quite enough.

Not quite red enough.

For if I were red, the room would be ablaze with our faces dancing in the flames. The rafters brightened by our unity and the floor caving under our strength, we would consume all that could be ours—all that should be ours. If I were red, maybe we could be red together. 

But, my nuances are just slightly misshapen, and my heart’s too broken to be red. I’m not red nor scarlet nor crimson nor oxblood nor brick. I’m just not red, but I can’t be blue. 

I can’t be blue because I’m not enough. If I were blue, there would be no red. A pragmatic periwinkle or a smart, smitten sapphire could extinguish a fire with a single, breathy whisper, barely augmenting the lung. I’m not blue because there is a fire, or, more likely, the fire rages because I am not blue. 

If anything, I’m barely pigmented at all—as decrepitly beige as the tried-and-true quilt. As boisterous as I once was, my pep has percolated into parchment prescriptions of the past. The colors I once was—the colors I thought I would always be—have faded and mingled and grown old together bitterly, fogging the clear bond into that dreaded, murky beige.  

But, my nuances are just slightly misshapen, and my heart’s too broken to be red.”

As vibrant of a beige as I am, I’m but a tattered quilt being consumed by the raging fire. Two tattered quilts, the paradigm and I, find ourselves stuck. For me, I’m stuck by my almosts; for him, it’s his isn’ts. Yet, together we are undoubtedly somewhat.

Two tattered quilts are a warmth of a certain degree—a lesser degree irrefutably, but a degree, nonetheless. A warmth that contrasts heat; we aren’t cold against hot, and we never were. But, our warmth is that special kind of warmth that outweighs the blistering, devilish fire that is the red—the you. 

It’s two tattered quilts that can stop the fire, that can suffocate the heedless havoc. But, I am only one, and I can’t throw the second on the fire no matter how inanimate it is. A tattered quilt it may be, but the sentimental stitches and nostalgic netting still make it what it once was. So, I can’t make the sacrifice. 

It’s that something—that ability to make you lose more than just yourself that makes red so strong. That’s the something that makes red so red. 

And so I, the tattered quilt, lie basking in the heat of your sullen shadow, and though you are so, so cold, you are unbearably hot. I, the tattered quilt, and I, the victim, sit susceptible to surrender surrounded by the knowledge that I am enough, but I cared too deeply for longevity.

And for that, I lost everything.