Reds

  
Peel off a layer.

The petal drifts to the ground, floating in arcs that draw into a wry smile.

A layer is exposed. I see how you treat your friends; the guarded wall that surrounds your heart even as you joke and laugh with them. You have compassion, and sometimes you instinctively want to help others, but to some people you restrain your actions and just let it slide over your head. It’s not your fault. It’s just the way the world has been programmed to be.

It already feels rather bare. You’re missing something. Perhaps it’s the introversion that you escape into at the end of the day, or the family you turn to for shelter whenever something goes wrong. It’s not there now. You’re on your own, as yourself, out there in the world. I’m watching, and I know.

Pluck off the second layer of petals.

It now floats to the floor in random circular motions that are controlled by the uncertain wind. Restrained but free.

Two layers are gone. The wall is beginning to crumble a little; I see cracks that show who you really are. The light in your eyes are gone even though your eyes are crescent-shaped. Your smile doesn’t quite reach your eyes; it’s a half-hearted smile that’s ready to drop from exhaustion. Your movements are lacklustre and a few strands of hair has escaped the crowd.

Even though you talk or you smile, the red is coming through. It’s turning orange. The yellow day has changed to a duller colour, a more fiery colour that rich in vermilion.

It’s not the you that people recognise. It’s the you your closer friends understand.

Pull off the third layer of petals.

The petals drop to the ground like a ball. It bounces here and there, up and down, left and right, before settling amongst the other dried reds that are turning black.

Perhaps someone had punched his fist into your brick wall. There are holes and the fire is burning. No longer are the friends around. Only the closest and the ones who understand are quietly sitting around you like they’re surrounding a bonfire. Your clothes are stained red. It is painful and it is now apparent. The secrets that were hidden behind the facades of adequacy are now clear. It’s bright and it’s burning. 

It’s agony. You’re sitting in the fire and you’re crying in anguish, but you can’t get out and you don’t know what to do to get out. It’s a part of you. You don’t feel the heat eating away the cells on your skin because you’re numb. There are no feelings, but only pain that haunts you.

It was hidden. It was guarded because it was dangerous. It was protected because it was fragile.

The fourth layer of petals are ripped.

They fall to the ground like dead houseflies slapped in the face.

It’s barren land. Red hot.

This is who you are. I see the prickling past pervading your soul and camping in the deep recesses of your mind and heart like a plague. You can’t feel it, but it lives on as a part of you.

The fifth, sixth, seventh layer of petals shoot straight to the ground without hesitation. There is no wind, no rain, no sun.

The core is black. It’s the deepest shade of crimson that harbours the swirling wasps of smoke filtering through your spirit. It’s enchanted. Filled with the nerves that you’ve tucked away and the emotions that you’re petrified of, it remains buried deep in the ground, out of sight and out of mind.

But even fire can reach it. It burns down, deep down, down to where the anger is ignited and the tears overflow the aquifer and flood the earth. It drowns out everyone around you. The friends are gone, your family is somewhere, and I am gone too.

But I have seen, and I know.

You don’t see me, but I understand it all.

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