On the corner of Hobart Street, the tall street lamp cast a cone of light that sparkled on its slim, silver pole. At such an odd hour in the morning, only quiet sounds drowned out during the day could be heard. At such an odd hour in the morning, only the groaning and croaking of the Earth made noise. Hal leaned her head against the lamp post, the one across her house, but she faced the opposite direction towards the empty, black street. By now, the little bit of adrenaline she felt as she stepped carefully and slowly down the hall, as she tiptoed down the stairs, and finally as she inched the door shut has passed. Now, she just felt hollow, that her insides were filled just with air and at any moment, she could spontaneously deflate down into a mess of skin and tears. It wasn’t only that, but she felt that whoever she had once been was completely lost. She wasn’t sure how she could have ever been that dimple faced little girl squealing delightfully as she clenched a toad in her hands. It was all a staged trick; beyond what was enclosed by the silver frame, which was placed carefully in the center of the mantle, was nothing. At such an odd hour in the morning, Hal tried to find complacency and consolation in the serenity of the dark, but inevitability won. She clutched the lamp post for further support and she leaned the weight of her body against it. How could it be that everything was a lie? That things you were most sure of turned out to be the most phony and flaky of them all? How could a best friend get behind the wheel intoxicated? They either ended up having some limb amputated, brain damaged, or dead. Some were lucky, but Laura wasn’t lucky. And worst of all, how could mothers who cooked meatloaf while wearing a “Home Sweet Home” apron wink twice at the neighbor? And it was definitely more than just that. Hal could not and perhaps would never understand the complicated thoughts circulating through their heads as they made their decisions. She couldn’t help but think that the thoughts were not complicated at all. She couldn’t help but think that too many people in the world were selfish and condescending and hypocritical and stupid and horrible. And she couldn’t help but wonder how she could lose everything because of nothing.
June 10, 2009