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The Fire Inside

by Brittany Stuckey


I felt my blood boiling, tears ran down my face at the sight of you. What was once a mahogany canvas, smooth and glowing, ready for the world’s interpretation, now resembled the graffiti at a train stop in Harlem. The only difference is this artist chose only one color. The color of your birth stone now was the same color that dripped from your lips and nose. Your eyes that once beamed with promise were now swollen and full of disappointment. The hope Mom had taught us, that seeped from our pores, left you completely. As I washed your face, tears ran profusely. The white towel I used now mirrored the roses you received for your sweet sixteen. The red that once represented love, passion, energy, and strength was now the same color he used to take all of those things away from you. As I held the ice to your lip and watched the blood pour down, I knew that we had work to do. We needed to rekindle the fire inside of you.

As the water ran, I turned on the burner and watched the light flicker as though Smurfs were dancing in a circle. It took me back to a time when things were simple; the only walking away you had to face, was from an ice cream truck. Now time and space had changed everything. By the time I brought you your tea, you had morphed into someone else. The arm I used to decorate with homemade beaded bracelets now had markings the shape of islands we once put on our bucket list. Your face had developed bruises as deep and as dark as the ocean. The ocean of love you had for this man was what he used to manipulate you and hold you hostage in your own home. The same color gift I gave you at your wedding for good luck was now your fate. I decided to play you Mom’s favorite song as I helped you pack. I looked in your eyes, and I could see a spark. The red fire he tried to kill had not died, just dimmed. It needed some oxygen to survive. So, my sister, as we packed for this journey I needed you to know the two colors he used to dominate you are still where you can find power.

“The Fire Inside” by Quinza Stanley

“The Fire Inside” by Brianna N. Ellison

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