Inktober52 2023: Build

My cold fingers scramble to light the match that will build this fire into a blazing inferno. Over and over, I scrape the match against the rough red of the matchbox. But again and again, the match snaps in half. Unlit.

I toss away the broken pieces, adding more kindling to the growing pile of fears and failures and flaws I can’t control. To burn it all away would be to start anew. Fresh and fertile as a forest after a fire.

My hardened fingers tremble to scratch the match into any kind of flame. With every attempt, the matchsticks rattle in the box, reminding me of my failures. Each unlit head another strike against who I am and who I want to be.

All I need is a single spark and the broken, excess bits of myself would catch, igniting into a flame of incandescence. A light to reveal all the shifting shadows. All the dark parts still hidden away, waiting to be discovered.

My stiff fingers scrawl the final match across the edge. One last chance to make this right. The red head slides across the strip. A sizzle of smoke follows in its wake until–

There’s a spark. A bloom of light in the darkness. A beacon against the swallowing night.
I drop the match onto the pile of kindling I’ve built out of all my life’s decisions. The words and choices, the failures and flaws, the hopeless days and gloomy moods, ignite with a surging snap. They curl and writhe as flame consumes each one. Until all that remains is a pile of embers and ashes, restless and waiting.

Waiting for the next spark to ignite into flame.


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