BY SAVANAH HIPPERT

He once took an entire afternoon to make a fire pit in my backyard.

… 

It once took me an entire afternoon to de-flame a fire.

The fire pit he created became a home to all of the memories we shared. Some were of a teddy bear’s red and white soft material that slowly lifted with the breeze and blew towards the sky in smoke. Most particles stayed inside of the pit and soon withered away. Next were the letters, the notes, his faded jeans that lacked a loop, a stained white t-shirt, and photo booth prints that had cost three dollars. The colors faded as they melted and wilted away with the flames.

Once the thick black smoke cleared, the red tinted flames swelled, heated my face, and seeped into my skin. I was finally warm.

When he asked how I was, I said I was fine. He, however, was left thirsty in hopes that I’d come and crawl back into the bottle he firmly kept a cap on. Later, he asked if I still had the bear he paid for that past Valentine’s Day. I lied and said that it was safe somewhere, somewhere hidden. He never did ask for the clothes he kept in my closet. 

We sat in lawn chairs while others were on a blanket. The night air wisped between the fabric that attached itself to each person’s body. The fire that rose from the pit he created lit my face with warmth; however, the wind still left my body feeling paralyzed. Each slight blast slowly bit at my skin, the fire seemed to help everyone else except me. They had every reason to think I was fine; if they had tapped, poked, felt my skin, or went past the exterior, they’d see how the inside of me had become cold.

He once took an entire afternoon to make a fire pit in my backyard.

Dirt was in a pile on one side. He stood at the foot-deep hole in front of him, and with sweat droplets assembled at his brow, he took silver and white stones and placed one on top of the other to shape the circle he had created.

I handed him a cool drink of lemonade, with a red and white straw draped over the rim. It also had sweat, each drop trickled, one after another.

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