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Home or Familiarity

My eyes open and I’m laying on the cold, damp floor.
All I can see is pitch black, but I can still navigate my way around the small cell from my memory. The cot in the left corner across from a small toilet, next to a leaky sink. I lift myself up, barely even noticing the pounding headache branching out from the center of my skull. I feel the rage rushing up from my core. I had tried so hard to escape here, tried so hard to survive outside.
Now that I’m back, there are no second chances.
I turn my head to where the window is as I see a faint gleam from the surface of the moon. I walk towards the window, delicately laying my hand on the cold glass, the moonlight engulfing my fingertips. I glance out at the new wires angled across the exterior, trapping me in my own dungeon.
I look out into the night. Tears of sadness and laughter flood my memory looking back at the night I had escaped, nearly three years ago. It was a blur, but I can never forget  the brilliant way my heart beat out of my chest; the way I jumped and danced on the ground I had never felt before. It was almost like a new life, my feet kissing the dirt that symbolized my freedom. I remember how scared I was, to be out of my cell for the first time. Suddenly, the memories flood back to me five at a time. My mind became a hurricane of history and feelings all made in between these four walls. The walls I dreaded for so long. I begin to sob, and I fall to the ground in the hysteria.
I’m back, I’m back, I’m back. I’m crying from the confusion. Being back here has made me feel so comforted, like nothing had ever changed. I place my head in my hands, as the room around me spun. This place was like a candle in a snowstorm, bringing me home. I almost felt as though I belonged here, freedomless; and I felt sick at this thought.
“This is not home,” my mind cried out, “...this is familiarity”. From all my time on the run, I had always been paranoid and unsafe. In captivity, those feelings didn’t exist. I wasn’t free to think or feel or love who I was or love where I had been. Here there was only the cell and just the cell. I felt trapped and I began to pound at the cinderblock walls. “I’m back, I’m back, I’m back.” I pounded and pounded trying to get back the summer nights under the stars, the days of just walking in the woods, the wind in my hair. I pounded until my knuckles bled.
All I have now are the tears and memories.
My forehead is throbbing now, so I turn and lay down in my cot, wiping my eyes on the gray and musty pillow. There’s only one brittle sheet on the cot, that I wrap around myself. It was coarse and cold. The dripping of a pipe somewhere helps me to slow my breathing from hyperventilating to a soft wheeze. When my eyes flutter closed I can almost smell the grass and feel the warmth of the sun.
I am forced awake by the banging of a guard at the door bringing me the first meal of the day. The dimmed sun outside let me believe it was about six or seven in the morning, but it doesn’t matter what time it is. In my cell, there’s no time, just seconds bleeding into seconds. A day can feel like forever when there’s no such thing as time. I stared out the window until I heard the guard start to yell. Memories come back from when I was little when the guards would send a chill down my spine. I didn’t know any better. But hearing the familiar rattling and cursing from the man on the other side of the door made me angry. No, not angry, infuriated. I walk over to the door, as calmly as I can. I see the guard shove the tray of gray oatmeal through the slot on the bottom of the door. When the tray has left his hand, I take my opportunity and step on it.
“Why?” I yelled, my voice hoarse from thirst. This shocked him. I could tell because his hand stopped thrashing under my foot and he was silent for just a second. He was surprised I could speak, since they had never bothered to teach me. “What did I do? Why am I here? WHY?” I didn’t realize I was screaming until I heard the echo of my voice all throughout the hallway.
“O-okay,” the guard stuttered. And he began to explain.






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