The Film Inside

By Olivia Ferrucci

   In the flooded heat of a thousand summers multiplied across each other, I found solace in my senses. Memories of soft skin and hard pavement collide in an instant like two hands bonded together. Etched lines against smooth palm, winter against summer. When my eyelids shut, the film begins to play and I am caught in a renaissance of what used to be.
   I see dizzying lights dancing across the sky like the wind as I stare in wonder, questioning all I have known prior. The thunder before the lightning is so calm, so low in its dull violence. I see the beach, and I see my reflection in the moon as her eyes gaze back at me with visible displeasure. 
   When the click of the lens reels and the video hums to a start, I am back in the moment. My feet are in the damp, grassy earth and the sky is so black. I look around and see love, nostalgia before it has even begun. This is a carnival, and it will maintain its supposed innocence until each memory is stored away on the side of a highway. At this point, the protagonist divides. She splits herself in two and hopes one of them can find the answer as to why love leaves. No matter how many times I have seen this same tragic story of love's death unfold, I still find myself glancing around in a frantic attempt to find resolution myself. And no matter how many times I do so, I never find it. 
   The naive nostalgia continues regardless, and I am brought to wooden panels levitating above the ground. The protagonist has returned, stronger yet. Her heart nearly falls out of her throat as she sings but it only motivates her to continue. She tells a story herself, composed of intricate anecdotes masked by harmony. This movie has never won an award. It has never been recognized, because no one can see it but me. No one else understands it, because you have to watch love die in order to understand why it was there in the first place. 
   The next moment, I am standing in front of a burning house I used to call my own. Now, it is empty and smoldering and wishing it had a bit more time to breathe. One half of me finds this house heartbreaking, lonesome in its own fate. The other half relates to its glimmering downfall. This flaming abyss, this chemical explosion is killing me from the inside out. I have come to find that open wounds are renewed by old flames without any shade of mercy, forming a blazing street of which each house stores different memories. 
   Here lies fifteen, emblazoned by marks of fear and desolation as the sky opens up and I find myself withering from the sun. 
   Here lies fourteen, split in half. The door is open, but no one is home. Everyone has left. So have I. Our conflagration exceeded any possible guesses I could have warranted. The city is destroyed It is August. It is July. The dog days. Yet somehow, despite the alleged heat I hear of, all I feel is cold. It was winter in July, and I blame myself. For feeling this way- Numb, frozen. I took the calendar and set fire to it, through with being trampled by the numbers and dates. When the lull of the lens dims to a close, everything is silent. There is no film to watch, for I must open my eyes and carry on as expected. I do not forget the way the thunder rolled, however. I keep its quiet ferocity hidden under my tongue just as I do with everything I see play out over and over, again and again.  A year plagued by kerosene cannot set fire to itself without my match, without my touch. And I am not about to let this city fall once more.

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