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Written by Hesandi Jayasekara

They always talk about Icarus, and Hubris, and fathers, and Hubris again. But they never talk about Icarus, a youth on the edge of the world, whose wings melted, who felt his destruction approaching and rushed into the fire anyway. The burning embers aren’t an aesthetic but they become real when you rush into them, burning you up from the inside and leaving nothing behind except burnt flesh and the taste of regret in your mouth that hits with a somehow quick yet long splash.

It really becomes an aesthetic after a while, doesn’t it?

Fire burns. and youth⁠—youth, too, burns⁠—it’s in the shot of vodka you take when you desperately want to get drunk, to forget a sorrow that feels too big for yourself, to forget a sorrow that should have been years in the making but with your luck ended up being a slow-burning ember that somehow lit up.

It’s in the cough you exhale as you take yet another hit of your cigarette, the nicotine filling up your lungs and making you feel alive for the first time in a long time. The dim light somehow only becomes dimmer in the low light of the cigarette butt, the yellow-orange the only thing you can see for miles in the winter blackness. There are people around you, too, but you don’t feel them, distant like only you know how to be, how youth knows how to be, to be a part of something yet not a part of something at the same time.

There is light coming out of a window, but somehow you feel distant from it⁠—distant from it all; the light gets dimmer and dimmer as you edge further away, but you don’t know if you’re the one edging further away or if it was the light that decided to do it, a light that dims and dims and dims and eventually blinks out.

I don’t think Icarus regretted it⁠—when you’re burning, there’s nothing much to think about except the flames; the beauty, the warmth, and how it burns.

There’s beauty in fire, too.

You just don’t see the destruction until it’s too late.

Written by Hesandi Jayasekara