April 29, 2013
By , berlin, NJ

The breeze cools my sweating face as I make a left off of Blackwell Avenue. I adjust my headphones and turn the volume up to the highest setting. This is when the thinking starts, my thoughts drown the music to a quiet murmur.

This summer will be much different than my last. I used to spend every single day with my friend, Kelsey; I have not seen her in four weeks. She is too far away. The gas is too expensive, my brakes need to be changed, but I do not get my paycheck until next Friday. How much do brakes cost? I still need to find a dress for Ashley’s birthday party. Maybe Carolyn could lend me the blue one, yeah with the jeweled neckline…

I need to speak to my manager again tonight to make sure he can get me extra hours next week. I should be closing the store tonight, so I’ll be home by ten.
Home. Could I even call it that? Which one? Have I ever had a real home?
I have lived in six different “homes”. Scraps of memories are left behind at each place, scattering me across the state.
My parents are both an hour away from where I live, work and go to school. My brother, sister, Mommom and Poppop are each fifty miles away from Princeton. I know my Dad is pouring concrete right now. He must be dying in the heat today. If I were home, I’d bring him a sandwich. He would love salami, prosciutto, provolone with roasted peppers on Italian bread. A touch of olive oil and a Vitamin Water. The pink one with the blue label is his favorite.
I see a glimpse of my Dad again; wiping the sweat from his forehead with his dirt encrusted and calloused palm. I see the bright faces of new friends strangled by the dull reoccurring images of old ones. My chest starts to contract tightly, and my stomach flexes. There it is again, the clash of agony and unconditional love.

What was I going to say when I saw her this weekend? My mom knows that she is the reason I left home. We have argued about it countless times. I am just a teenager, with problems of my own.
I think of our conversations, I picture her face. Her dark blue eyes settle in my head and are the catalyst of the torment deep in my chest.
I quickly look down at the dark screen of my Ipod. The same blue eyes glare back through the blurred reflection.
It is a sunny day and I’m sure she is sitting on the porch with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She is rocking back and forth on the worn down, white chair with a newly opened bottle perched by her side accompanied by two larger, empty bottles.
I shake the scarred image from my head just as one of my favorite songs begins to play. I do not remember hearing music at all until now. The lyrics start to break through my chaotic train of thought as I focus on my breathing. I breathe perfectly in sync with the beat of the song. My legs are throbbing, yet I feel powerful, invincible almost. The beat pulses through my body and takes full control of my cluttered mind. I look around me, but I am not just looking at my surroundings. I feel the hot sun beating against my freckled shoulders. I inhale the smell of fresh cut grass and exhale the negativity of my mind. I feel the energy from the sun and unleash it on each step I take. The mayhem of my memory dissolves into the vibration of music coursing through my veins. When I finally reach the street sign, I do not stop. I glance again at the blue eyes that are both hers and mine. I take a deep breath, and run right past Blackwell Avenue.

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