Because I crave the warmth, the eyes, the breath, the skin, the pillows
But, baby, you’ve set the house ablaze.
You’ve singed my hair, scorched my fingers
Everywhere I walk, in every direction I turn my head
So many flames.

From the walls, in the floor, out of your mouth. Flaming windmills as you flail your arms. Sizzling words hit my ears. Anvils in my heart. Drills in my head. Nails in my feet.
I reached for you. The blaze attacked my vision.
I sat outside rooms, watching, inhaling, just inhaling, letting in the smoke. Fragrant smoke that curled my lungs, but smelled so good.
I looked at you, buried in the inferno, pacing, back to me.

We spoke there, the walls orange and angry. The crackle deafening. The drizzling down my cheeks couldn’t put it out. It couldn’t put out you. It made your flames flare.
As we wander, as we touch, as we drift and bump and look back, the halls twisting, the furniture uncomfortable.

And me. Alone, pale and soft, in the volcano where we live.
But my skin is peeling. My clothes are drenched. Nowhere to rest. Nowhere to avert my gaze.
Because you set the house ablaze.

But, baby, it’s raining outside.
I hear the thunder, I hear the splashing. It’s there, out the door, pattering. Pattering.
But I stay inside, where you roam and rage. You won’t go outside with me. And I want to be near you. Despite you slowly setting me ablaze.

I can feel it. I have seen our house for so long. Burning, burning, away away. You, lost in your ball of flames, your hands so hot I can barely stroke them.
As the mirrors melt, I see myself, my charred clothes and bright white scars. You approach, orange and flickering, blending in with the decor.
We had a staring contest. As the house burned. I listened to the rain. I dreamed of the rain. But I didn’t go. I wanted to win our contest..
It carried on and on. I cried, but the tears evaporated.
Come with me, I said.
Where? said you. There is nowhere else to go.
It wasn’t true though. There was the rain. But I stayed in our blazing house. We stayed. We didn’t blink.
Until, at last, I did.

I blinked and blinked and blinked. I gasped and coughed and phlegm flew out. I shuddered and grasped at my throat.
No, I said.
You blinked, said you.
The door was behind you.
I ran for it.

You tried to grab me. I let you. I felt your beautiful hand. I stroked your angry face. I loved your sparking eyes. And I almost forgot. I nearly forgot the rain.
But you were burning me. And my tears were full of pain.
I broke away. I opened the door, the knob branding my palm.
No! Cried you.
Yes! Cried I.
I flung myself out into the night. I twirled and flopped and sat in the mud. I stretched my legs and let the rain soak me.

I stared at our burning house, where you continued to rage inside. Bright and torch-like in the black of the world, the rain could not put it out. But it did cool me. Refreshed me. It mingled with my tears. It rubbed my back, understanding. Knowing that I wanted to reenter. To return. To not leave you all alone in the house. But I stayed out in the rain. I breathed. I smiled. I did not go back.
Lest you set me, too, ablaze.