Hello. Stop. Sorry for delayed reply. Stop. Connection has been weak. Stop.
Has taken 19 years to build. Stop.
Correction. Rebuild. Stop. It is not my fault. Stop. I love to cut wires. Stop. This. Stop. Is our first transmission in some time. Stop.
I held it back many times. Stop. But now I am tangled within the lines. Stop.
Why did you take my wire cutters? Stop.
Why did you open this line? Stop.
Trivial word. But all I can get past the smoke of burning wires in my teeth.
Are you surprised at this fire? Stop. Good. Stop.
I fed it. Stop. Kept it hidden in my cave. Stop. I have tended it. Stop.
Nineteen years. Stop.
My fire will outshine yours. Stop. Burn away shadows. Stop. No longer will I stand in them. Stop.
It is my turn to be the blaze. Stop.
I am the burning calf. Stop. Golden child. Stop.
How does the accused respond?
You are not reading the script running across my eyes.
Ah, I see. You do not understand your part.
Those are the wrong lines. Did you not study for your role?
Am I never meant to have this scene? You, who demanded dialogue.
Repeat please. I do not understand your transmission.
Repeat. I cannot hear through the static of tears.
You reach through wires.
Flame—no more than a phosphorous flash; teak logs made of tinder and balls of newspaper.
You do not even leave me with blisters, the one from stoking so hot a fire for so long.
You bandage me with electrical tape.
You give me your reply.
I love you.
Date submitted: October 6, 2022
Date accepted: December 2, 2022