Words from Web

By SPARK Web No. 21
September 14, 2023

Graphic by Elain Yao

An ongoing journal from the Web Department.

September 14, 2023

I feel like I'm going to be in control of my life soon – I'll strike a match – grasp it until my knuckles turn white, daydream about what my life could be. I've always heard that fire signifies new life.

I can start over. What seems so permanent can be burned and erased. Nothing survives that trial. I can start over.

I sometimes sit alone at night and think about exploding stars. Stars that have lived for so long, burning and decaying into the dust that makes up our galaxy. I wonder if I'll live for that long. Sometimes, I feel infinite, sometimes like a fleeting thought.

Legacy is a beautiful and messy, complicated and chaotic thing. You leave your mark on the world and then when you are gone, when you finally vanish. It is up to those who come after you to decide what happens. They say you die twice, and the final time is the last person who speaks your name. I can only hope that enough people spread rumors about me to keep me in their minds. I can only hope that they keep whispering about me.

I wanted to burn myself away. You can put my ashes in a locket. Think of me from time to time. But that's the point — to not think of me at all. Who will there be to think of? Who will think of me? When I am just a minuscule particle in a vast universe. Hope fuels my fire. I hope somebody, someone, will think of me — that I will have a place in their mind to curl up and take a deep breath. I'll rest my head and my heart at last. The journey has been long, and my eyelids are heavy now. I want to go to sleep, and so I do. I will rest. Tomorrow is a new day. But the flipped belly feeling won't be new. I know I will still feel unrested until it all comes back to me. But even when it does, it won't ever feel like it used to. I'm half of who I was, so what's the point? Why should you think of me when I have half as many thoughts? Tuck me away somewhere quiet. Let me live my days unnoticed.

What happens when we cease to burn? Does my humanity cease, too? I hope it doesn't. I hope my spark doesn't fade. My fire, embers, and warmth continue to emit for eternity.


I sometimes want to light a candle, to burn a flame, but never turn toward the drawer filled with old matchboxes. They're miscellaneous and messy in the drawer; I've collected them from my travels. I want to pick up the one from New York and burn this house to the ground. I want to take the other one from Chicago and light inflammable material because as hard as I try, I feel like I can't get what I want. You can't just burn everything you hate, unfortunately. The smoke will always linger, charred bits are a constant reminder.

When the desire is too strong, I open the drawer and look at them. I take a match stick out of the box and hold it to the light. I rest it against the striker, never pulling it too fast to light. How can we tell children not to play with something so pretty? We seek it out just to watch it. The blue tangles with red as the fire waxes and wanes.

Instant regret: that matchbox is from somewhere, a placeholder for memory, and I let the fire devour it.

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