Hell is not made of fire.
A lot of people believe that hell is a world covered in flames, with heat that sears through your very being, scorches your soul, and inflicts terrible agony. They say Hell is a place for fiery torment, where fire is a vicious serpent that winds through your existence and seeks to quench every feeling except anguish, but at the same time refusing to let you be conquered by nothingness, keeping you wide-awake so you can feel every blistering sensation.
Hell doesn't look the same for everyone else. Hell is a multi-faced mirror with countless reflections caging you inside the hollow of a diamond so you can see the glaring facets you refuse to look at. Hell is not always a place; sometimes it's a feeling, sometimes it's an event--sometimes it's a person.
Hell shows itself not only in death. Hell is everywhere--it's just somewhere around the corner of the street, hiding its face behind a newspaper, waiting for you to make the wrong choices. It's just somewhere behind you, an invisible fiend watching your every step, waiting for you to stumble. And once you do, it will laugh at you. You won't hear its sinister laughter, nor would you notice the subtle shift of the ground beneath your feet.
The odds are no longer in your favor.
Hell is cold. Hell is calculating. Hell is terrorizing.
Hell is reaching inside yourself, searching your heart, trying to find out how you really feel--but ending up finding nothing. Hell is opening your mouth to scream but nothing comes out because there is nothing left inside. Hell is the immovable boulder weighing down on your chest, it is the desperate need for the ability to cry, it is the panic and anguish that comes when you realize you can't.
Hell is watching him with his perfect hair and perfect eyes and perfect smile, knowing he isn't even aware of your plain existence. Hell is realizing for the first time that unrequited love is not as romantic as people say. Hell is waiting, waiting, waiting for something you know won't come. Hell is finally getting the nerve to say 'I love you' but only receiving silence in return. Hell is laughing it all away and saying it's nothing, I understand why, all the while wishing you could run to someplace where you can cry and scream without being heard. Hell is falling in love.
Hell is the red mark on your record, the frowns on your parents' faces, the pitying looks on your friends' expressions. Hell is the star you failed to reach, the shaking heads, the consoling pats on your back. Hell is the mocking laughter ringing in your ears even after they've long ended. Hell is the condescending voices echoing from somewhere in the back of your mind, reminding you who you were, who you've been, and who you are now. Hell is laughing at you. Hell is disappointment. Hell is trying and trying over and over and never succeeding. Hell is failure.
Hell is building your life with damning patience, with meticulous thoroughness, with painstaking care, and having it all knocked down to the ground. Hell is desperation, hopelessness. Hell is the blooming rose standing amidst a bed of withered blossoms. It's the touching beauty of life at its most exquisite, the surging anticipation, the reckless triumph, and the next day when you look for the rose you only find a withered stalk. Hell is hope.
Hell is the silent night torn apart by raging screams and flying furniture. Hell is the deafening wail of a child accompanying every insult, every furious, careless word that escapes your mouth. Hell is the empty threat he took as a promise. Hell is holding his hand and realizing it's no longer as comfortable as it used to be. Hell is the sadness weighing on your apartment, so palpable you could wrap your fingers around it and try to snap it--but you can't, because hell is already there. Hell is the silence, the eternal quiet screaming in your ears, as you pack your suitcase, as you stuff in old photographs trapped behind the cracked glass of their picture frames. It's the painful need to sit still and concentrate on breathing because you suddenly forgot how to. It's looking around you, seeing the stripped bed, the empty closet, the unsettling dust floating along the light filtering through the misted windows. Hell is falling out of love.
I could go on about hell forever, and I would never be able to enumerate all of them because there can only be so many words that can describe hell, and there are too many people in this world who see different kinds of hell. I cannot accurately define hell, I don't know much about it. I cannot claim to have seen hell, because I've never been to a place like it before.
But I know that hell is cold.
Because hell is not always made of fire.