Red Dragon

His earbuds and a scarf I gave him were tangled up together on the floor

Next to his bed where he dropped them in spring

Before the “thing”

A handsome tartan scarf he planned to wear abroad next semester

More ornamental than not, but he loved the thing

And those dam ear buds

“What?!” He screamed

As if I were being the rude one

As if I were interrupting his life.

I held the tangled tartan to my face staring out the window

As if the “thing” had not yet unraveled itself

As if his obsession with sunsets still dawned

When an evening storm suddenly blew shade over my Sun

My horizon blotted out by thick dark clouds, gray, and heavy as slate

sponging up all my light

Tears fell on the pane

Droplets dancing innocently on the other side

What I can see now in all of it

Is that he was young and did not have to go like this

He was a good listener. Warm and collegial.

Even without the scarf I gave him

But this invisible “thing” that everyone could see yet not wrap their heads around

The Red Dragon, undeniably red

Breathed its fiery breath on him

And left nothing behind but singed memories like this one

Saving the tangled tartan clenched in my fists

And a few, who still, to this very day, do not believe in dragons

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