jennifer ray morell

7/1/2015 -- “Jarome Iginla”

Francis worked on his flames during third period. While his teacher lectured about chemical bonds, scribbling smudgy notes on the white board, Francis carefully traced over his wavy drawings from yesterday’s class. It was hard to delineate the different temperatures with only a blue ballpoint pen, but his strokes were short and feather soft.

Before moving on to a new section, he first needed to decide what type of fire he would draw. Fueled by gas, wood, paper – all of these options should be taken into consideration. Fluctuations in temperature changed everything. For a long time, he hadn’t realized that the blue from a stove and the yellow from a match were the same. He would cringe each time his little brother grabbed Goldenrod to color his smiling sun. Once he would bring him outside and they would lie on the damp grass, squinting and staring at the sky. He would explain that nothing could really be just one color. Back inside, his brother would consider his sun, grab Dandelion, and look eagerly at Francis to see if he was correct. They stopped drawing together years ago.

On days when they used the Bunsen burner, he could barely concentrate on his lab reports. He missed chemical reactions, and changes in volume, instead focusing all of his attention on how the flame danced, how it smelled. He felt its warmth from the across the table. He wanted to burn the synthetics of his shirt, the cardboard cover of his notebook. He wanted to study it all.

He had hardly noticed when the bell rang to end class, and his teacher had already erased the homework from the board. All around him was the sound of stools scraping against the floor, of books shifting. He was still holding his pen to his notebook when he felt a hard shove from behind. He heard laughter as he lost his balance, his stool kicked from underneath him. As he fell, he knew he ruined his flames.

From the floor, he saw his pile of books teetering on the edge of the desk. An imminent avalanche.

Inspired by Jarome Iginla