A heart’s perpetual fire

by Kara Fergason

I felt everything and absolutely nothing, all at once.

It was as if my entire life had been planned intricately to prepare me for this sacred, pivotal moment. Scars I seemed to have forgotten suddenly blared to life. They were the marks of experiences that rendered me helpless and left me raw.

But as your words filled the heavy air surrounding us, past grievances became indistinguishable, and all I could perceive was the beating of my own heart. It did not flutter, like it often did in your presence. Now, each thump was palpable. With each passing second came an overwhelming awareness—an awareness that no prior scar could have helped me accept. At first, I only heard your words as echoes.

But then I listened close. I knew you based upon the words you didn’t—couldn’t—say. Your gaze pierced me to my core.

Your blue eyes were ice crystals; they invited me to melt the coldness that had long taken hold over your heart. I had often looked into your eyes, willing to gaze into them forever if that meant I could save you from what haunted you.

The fire that dissolved the walls you had spent so much time building was the same fire that now brought me to pieces. Fragments of a deep awareness scattered within me. I never knew how powerful that fire was. Not until now.

I was the one whose depths were able to embrace yours. I was the one who showered you with so much love that the glaciers residing inside your chest couldn’t stand a chance. I simply loved with my entire being—a melting, unstoppable force.

But that was then, and I couldn’t try to save you anymore; I couldn’t keep us together. For a few moments, I couldn’t even feel my heart at all. A foreign numbness grappled my being. My chest constricted and chills traversed up my spine.

I looked up to meet your eyes, a dark shade I didn’t recognize. You wouldn’t hold my hand. You wouldn’t inch closer to me. I saw the tears forming in your eyes, but you wouldn’t cry.

Our mutual aching passion radiated in the distance between us, waiting for me to make everything okay again. I felt our energies as magnets that for once dared not reach each other, because I would not push them together.

Why didn’t you hold me? Why didn’t you try to show me how much you inherently cared? Why we loved each other, I know now, was meant to be this way: perplexing, unpretentious, intangible, merely for the fact that we shared something pure and beautiful.

I knew you were waiting for me to say something. I always had a way with words, after all. But I couldn’t utter what I knew. How could I let you leave? I couldn’t possibly let go. I wanted to curl into myself, to curl into the crevice of your chest, where I belonged. You needed my love, you needed my warmth, I needed …

What did I need?

What did I deserve?

Something wasn’t right.

I couldn’t turn away from the pit of truth finally unveiling itself, the inner knowing that no amount of passion could change what had always been bound to happen.

I looked at you again, loving you more than I thought I could possibly endure. I took your hand and cradled it to my cheek; in those next few moments, time stood still. I felt everything, most notably the truths I did not want to feel. Truths that had nothing to do with you, but only me and what I deserved.

I looked past the dimness gleaming in your eyes, and found instead the burning passion I held in my own heart.

With or without you, I knew, this fire would save me.