Firewood by Nathan Alling Long

One day I slammed my bedroom door after a fight with my parents, and there I stood alone in my room, the sound of anger echoing off the walls. Ugly, ugly, I thought, and I vowed–tenacious and absolute like all teenagers–to never show anger again.

And like that, I stopped. I transformed into ice calm, a person unflusterable.

For years, I was a monastery, a fortress made of bones. I sat cramped for hours in a pick-up, an October wind spinning up straw dust into my eyes. There were snowstorms with bare hands, fasting through spring, the hot summer on a bus that smell of chemicals and urine. I let old aches burn without salve.

Things were once distinct like that, certain, discrete. Now things morph into other things: the days, feelings, the songs I like and hate. Red lights have a hint of orange, the sky is never a perfect blue. What happened was this: the human touch.

We were talking in a field, the fire of night above us. The cold wet dew was settling into the grass, and all our words took us to mountains. Then his hand brushed against my arm. The monastery dissolved and became a playground. As we touched, the space between the world and my body wriggled and slid away. Then we fell into a well of warm liquid. Afterward, I smelled like his body. The doors, once softly shut, were now unhinged, dismantled, offered to the fire.


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Filed under Nathan Alling Long

3 responses to “Firewood by Nathan Alling Long

  1. Oh this was wonderful. Love the metaphors, especially the ending.

  2. Nice transformation of character here, and the metaphors are indeed delightful.

  3. Pingback: Week #51 – Unintended Consequences | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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