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Internal Flame

The journey of self-discovery is always the hardest. Sometimes, all we need in life is a little spark to light the path for us. Alex’s puzzling resistance in masking her true personality, sparks Amanda’s desire to be set free from her own darkness.


Amanda: Whatcha writing there Alex?

I almost lay a punch on her face for interrupting me with her presence. That would leave a mark, I think to myself…Amanda’s bulging and pleading eyes are an unwelcoming sight, to say the least. 

I feel uncomfortable around people like her. I tell her no, but to my surprise, she is still standing there….trying her best to strike a conversation with me. And so, I walk away from her, in search of a new quiet place to continue my writing. 

Amanda: Where are you going Alex? Wanna head to math class together?

“None of your business”, I mutter under my breath. As I try to escape her once again, she grabs my hand and drags me with her to room 305. 

Amanda: Whats’ with the attitude, Alex?

“What attitude?”, I ask her in a firm voice. 

Photo by vishnudeep dixit on Pexels.com

Amanda: You have got to stop wearing black clothes all the time! It gives off the impression as if you are attending someone’s funeral. 

Alex: I happen to like the color black. I would also appreciate it if you could stop with your stupid remarks. 

Amanda: Gosh, it’s impossible to talk to you.

Alex: You aren’t exactly the most pleasant person either, you know.

Amanda: Hmm… also, what’s up with the long sleeves and all? Trying to hide some marks or something?

Alex: Wh…what did you say?

Amanda: What are you deaf or something?

I don’t have the energy to argue back. I am tired and hungry. All, I want right now is to go home and eat a bowl of warm pasta.

3 hours later

While I am eating my pasta, I hear an aggressive knock on the door. Perhaps if I pretend that I am not at home… the person knocking on my door would leave me alone. 

10 minutes later

Amanda: What took ya so god damn long to open the door? Ya doing something fishy, eh?

I roll my eyes, and defeatedly let her come into my home. She quickly rushes to the kitchen and helps herself to the remaining cake in my fridge; before plopping herself to the couch in the living room.

Amanda: So, are you finally ready to tell me what’s been bothering ya lately?

I stare at my notepad, unsure if I am ready to open up to her. 

Amanda: What’s in the notepad?

Alex: Nothing… just some ideas I have been brainstorming for my English essay….

Amanda: Hmm…then I guess you wouldn’t mind if I take a look at it right?

Before I can answer her, she snatches the notebook from my hands and flips through the pages.

Amanda: I see. I can’t believe that even after three months you can’t still get over that stupid Ma…

Alex: I… tha…

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Amanda: Ever since you came back from your camping trip, you have been acting odd.

I sigh. I know she is right..

Alex: Odd is one way to put it.

I say that, as I stare into her eyes. 

Amanda: Jesus, why are you always so dramatic? *As she proceeds to stuff her face with the cake.*

I can’t help myself but ask her, “why do you care?”. 

I won’t lie to you, I want validation from someone, even if it’s from a person like Amanda

Amanda: Stop deflecting my question and answer ya? 

It’s impossible to read Amanda. I have known her for three years, and I still can’t figure her out. Not that I have any intentions of establishing a connection with her, but it sure would help to know her motives

Alex: Maybe I don’t wanna talk about it. Stop pestering me.

Amanda: Fine, suit yourself.

I didn’t expect Amanda’s response. She sure was peculiar. Nevertheless, I respected her.

Amanda: Well, that was a nice cake…. I better get going. Ma is gonna serve tuna casserole for dinner tonight. Would you like to join us for dinner?

Alex: No thanks. Tell your mom I said hi.

Amanda: By the way, how’s that mark of yours been healing?

Alex: What?!

Amanda: Are you ok? I didn’t even say anything nut head.

For the next few months, my routine consists of attending school, coming back home to an empty place, and going to sleep. I liked my routine. I wasn’t involved in any unnecessary relations with others and that made me happy. 

Of course, the preppy and social, Amanda didn’t approve of my lifestyle. Amanda was certain that my change in behavior has something to do with last year’s incident at camp. And to some extent she’s right. But X is not to blame for that. 

____________________

Sometime in October 2017, I find myself in a heated argument with Amanda

Amanda: How long are you gonna be like this?

Alex: What do you mean? I am fine, no?

Amanda: You know what I mean! You haven’t been urself! 

I can understand her frustration. But, it really doesn’t concern me.

Amanda: One day you are happy, and then the next few weeks, it’s like, like, you are on ghost mode or something!

Alex: I can assure you I am fine. Thank you for your concern.

Amanda: How can you say you are fine when you clearly aren’t?!

November 4th, 2017 was the last time I talked to Amanda. We graduated shortly after. It’s hard being friends with me, I get it. I don’t blame her for distancing herself from me. 

2020

Appearance-wise others might think that I am still bitter about the past, but that’s simply not true. I forgave X a long time ago for her betrayal. I am happy and at peace. I think what people fail to realize is that I am no longer masking my emotions. I am detached from fake people.

I am clearly not the same person I was three years ago. I have successfully transitioned from a caterpillar to a butterfly. 

Amanda’s POV

Present day 2020

To this day, I regret the way I ended things with Alex. I shouldn’t have snapped at her no matter how frustrated I was with her behaviour. I will perhaps never admit this out loud to others, but  for a long time I was bitter with Alex. She left me when I was at my lowest. Before her incident at the camping trip, Alex and I were best friends. We did everything together. But after camp, when she returned home, it’s like she became a completely different person. She isolated herself from others but more importantly I was left behind…

…I was like a toy  in an attic, collecting dust. I would patiently wait for my owner to come back to find me. But as always, I am left behind. After a few repetitions of such incidents, a new ‘tradition’ bloomed….where I would be passed on from one owner to the next. After all, in the eyes of others, my purpose is to make others happy.

…It’s only now in my twenties that I realize it’s not my job to make others happy. My happiness comes first. I found mine through painting.

As much as I hate to admit it, Alex changed for the better after the camping trip. She discovered herself. She ignited the spark within her. She was the last push I needed in my life to discover myself. 

And as for my past… I have come to the conclusion that my past does not define me, rather it has refined me. 

Alex and Amanda: I wonder how she is now?

Alex:

And I wonder if she figured it out….

that the camp never existed. 

A brief note…

While the events of Alex’s camping trip and past are somewhat fabricated… her spiritual growth is not. Alex in some ways is a reflection of the author’s own behaviour.

Amanda’s search for her own happiness is not only applicable to the author of this story but to other people as well.

As for the imaginary camp… I am sure you have figured out by now that it’s just a symbol for Alex’s metamorphosis.

Credits

Some images are derived from Pexels Free Photo

The comic was created on Canva.

9 comments on “Internal Flame

  1. John Spencer says:

    I was totally captivated by your words, your images, your story, the flow and movement of the screen, the colours — a wonderfully creative presentation. Thanks Sandra.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Freewriter says:

    Hello Sandra,

    I really loved your piece the story and images were spectacular together. It was a pleasure reading “Internal Flames ” 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Sandra, your story is so well presented and I loved getting to hear two perspectives within one story. This kind of gave me Skim (by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki) vibes, which is also about two friends that slowly grow apart. I also love the images that you chose ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anisa Ali says:

    Hey Sandra, this was such a beautiful metamorphisis, and it’s the struggles that beautified it! I highlighted this because I think it’s such a profound line. “I have come to the conclusion that my past does not define me, rather it has refined me”. Love the way you write and the presentation is impressive! Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Blu says:

    The images really did help to bring life to the story 👌 What inspired you to create this story and its message?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Darren Mc Almont says:

    The words. The flow. The images. Incredible.

    Curious to know where the inspiration came come.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sandra2dc says:

    Hello! Thank you all for the lovely feedback, responses, and commentaries! We often hear people say that “everyone is unique in their own ways”. Yet, whenever we stumble across difficulties in life, it seems as if there is only one way to react. We as a society are expected to quickly overcome our problems with grace and integrity. But oftentimes, we may not feel like overcoming our problems. We might not want to forego the past or plaster on a fake smile on our faces to please others (in hopes of fitting in). There is often the misconception that silence is frightening. When in reality silence can be comforting and dare I say rewarding. By allowing ourselves to ponder on our thoughts and actions, we allow ourselves to rectify our old mistakes. For some people, fixing their past mistakes is an act of redemption. After all, everyone deserves a second chance, right? Alex’s decision to remain silent and humble of her own accomplishments and affairs is something that I personally strive to achieve in life. And Amanda’s bubbly personality acts as a reminder that appearances can be deceiving. It’s important, I believe, to check in with the people you are closest to, at least once in a while. And that’s the explanation for my inspiration in creating this story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kerrydoyle17 says:

    Sandra,

    i love that you made a digital graphic creative memoir. non-fiction can cross and blur and play with the liminal spaces between genres and form in ways that you have explored and exemplified. thank you so much for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gcrone14 says:

    Sandra,

    I really loved this piece! The visuals were stunning, the story told so uniquely! I really “felt” the characters, Sandra; I really heard them talking and felt them growing apart. I, too, can relate to the experience of growing apart. What inspired you to write a piece as beautiful as this, to intermingle writing and visuals in such a nice way?

    Excellent job! I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

    Liked by 1 person

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