September 23, 2007
By Alida Miranda, Weston, FL

He solemnly stared at her and said “It’s the routine that kills you. Don’t fool yourself kid, it ain’t nothin’ else.” He looked up at the sky and blew a perfectly shaped ring of smoke. Then, he put out his cigarette and walked away. She knew he was right, but she’d never admit it. If she did, that would mean she’d lost a battle she’d never fought.

She crouched down on the cold wet ground, next to the cigarette ashes. She smiled to herself, thinking about what he’d said. She looked up at the dark, cloudless sky; the sun hadn’t come out in weeks. Soon, the rain would start. Maybe that’s all she needed, in the end. It made sense what he’d said. It would make even more sense for her to give in, to accept all of it. After all, she was so tired. Tired of the walls, the lies, the routine. She closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. It was too easy to give up. She thrived on complications, on pain.

The rain fell like icy cinder blocks. She pulled her charcoal grey sweater off and wrapped it around her head. The last thing she needed was a head cold. Lying on the ground, she observed the storm. She thought to herself how funny the weather is. It was as temperamental and ever-changing as the people protecting themselves for it. Maybe they were protecting themselves from their innermost parts. She wasn’t sure anymore.

Her face was numb from the assaults of bitter winds and harsh rain. It was all his fault. She was fine before he came along. Her life wasn’t perfect, but nothing ever is. It isn’t like she ever thought about things, not the way he did. Now she felt lost, without a home. The routine, the monotony is what would kill her. That’s what he was saying. It was such a harsh truth. “But wait” she said aloud. Life is a routine, no matter how you live it. Maybe that’s what he meant. Everyday she was living and dying simultaneously. She breathed in and stood up. It was time to go home.

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