Wed. Jul 6th, 2022

My ambition melted me like a candle: the more it glows, the more I lose myself. I am not a glow. I am not a flame. I am truly, deeply cold. I simply can’t keep it burning.

I decide to leave, and I never plan to come back—my presence frozen in the year 2018. Game controllers with worn buttons left plugged into the system, wires stretched across the living room carpet. Bed unmade with pillows still smelling like my strawberry shampoo. Pop-tarts left to expire in the cabinet.

Truthfully, I don’t know why. No one thing has ever made me want to go. I’ve always just had the desire. The thought that this is it? Terrifies me. I’m just here. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Nothing ever gets finished and I can’t seem to find a start. I can’t keep it burning.

They’ll remember me better than I was. Memories are so much better than the reality, to forever see a person smiling and laughing through a hazy, nostalgic lens. They’ll wonder about me, I’m sure—maybe even miss me— but life goes on.

I don’t know where I’ll go. I believe that it can’t be anywhere too bad. I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally been a bad person. I listened to my friends on their bad days — even when I didn’t think I could, cleaned the bathroom without mom having to ask me to, donated my extra change. I can’t keep it burning.

I picture it to look like a long strip of road surrounded by an open field of fresh-cut grass, I’m driving the car I wish I never totaled at full-speed. I’m no longer afraid of the consequences. I put the top down and the wind—for once—doesn’t make enough noise to drown out the radio. It’s nighttime and the sky is clear of clouds, but full of stars. It feels like I belong with them. Ironically, it’s the most alive I’ll ever feel.

I sit and I write all of this down onto loose leaf from one of my high school notebooks and when I’m finished, I fold it up and place it on my desk.

My phone rings. I hesitantly answer. It’s Jamie. “Hey sweetheart.” He says a mere two words before I can’t hold back the tears, remembering his touch, his kind words last night—when we last had this conversation.

He reminds me to take my medication. I hadn’t today. He is on his way to hold my hand through my sleep in hopes of lighting fire to my positive thoughts for a fresh start tomorrow.

Kirsten Magas is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in Biology.

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