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I lay my head against the cool wall. The bricks were bloody where my hand had been. I felt a burning sensation as the cut touched the
grimy brick. I couldn’t run another step. I would die. Their voices were still ringing in my ears. They were yelling about my name, Dawson. My mother’s maiden name. They would be here soon; I could make out their voices.
“Come on out Dawson! We know you’re out there Dawson Yamarr!” Any second now they would turn a corner and see me. I had no where to hide. I fumbled in my pocket for a sharpie. I wrote one word on that wall. Lonely. Just as I finished the last letter they appeared at the end of the ally. I was trapped.
I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. I looked even worse than I felt. My hands looked like I had been petting a porcupine and that wasn’t the worst of it. My lip was cut almost all the way down the middle. It stung as the tears rolled down my face. I didn’t even put a band aid on before I raced upstairs. I grabbed a marker and clattered back down the stairs. In seconds I was outside. I wove through the maze of buildings until I came to the wall, my wall. I put the marker to the bricks and watched the words flow out.
Under that, even though I knew it was dangerous, I signed Dawson. All around that I wrote sorrow. He was home when I got back. For once his hand was empty, no bottle. He through a fit when he saw me face.
“Christ Dawson!” he exclaimed. “What happened to your face?”
“I cut myself.” I muttered hopefully sounding nonchalant.
“Um, I got a ball kicked in my face in gym.” I lied. Well technically that was true. Good thing for me I was an awfully good liar. He squinted into my face.
“You sure everything’s alright?”
“Yes.” I said, lying again. “Everything’s fine.”
I didn’t even try to sleep that night. I sat on the edge of my bed looking out the window. Looking at the stars. I remembered when I was five, mama showing me the big dipper.
“You see that?” she would ask. “When ever I’m lost that star right there will lead me home.” I traced it on the window the way she had done. Before she got sick. Before everything happened.
“Look at the star mama.” I whispered. “Come home.”
Even though I got up early the next day he was already gone. I knew that “they” would be out there today. I looked out the window to check. I didn’t see them but that didn’t mean they weren’t there. I gazed at the city outside. Even though the sun was shining everything was still grey. A fog covered the murky streets. It was always like that in the city. I started out the door and into the cement jungle. I couldn’t have gotten more than 100 yards before I heard the sounds of their foot steps behind me, just like every morning. I closed my eyes and willed them to go away, just like every morning. And just like every morning they never did.
I stayed out late that night, hiding even though I heard them laugh and walked off. Not to school of course. They hardly ever went to school. They were, in a nutshell, the drop outs and failures of Chapin Junior High.
I cut school to. This wasn’t the first time but it wasn’t a usually part of my schedule. I didn’t like missing school but I wasn’t chancing another encounter with them. I stayed out late into the night, writing.
Stone on one side
On the other voices
Nowhere to hide
All around that I wrote Help Me! Help Me! Help Me!
He was home when I got back, bottle in hand. Good he wouldn’t notice my cut arms. He stared blankly at the TV, eyes glazed over. I remembered 7 years ago. Me mom and him at the park. Me riding his shoulders. All of us laughing. Tears stung my eyes and I ran upstairs to my room. I stayed up there for a long time, trying not to cry.
That night I went out to my wall, marker in hand. I paused for only a moment and then I stared to write. Everything flowed out. How my family use to be, how my mother died the dreaded word “Cancer”. My mother’s name “Rebecca”. How I couldn’t walk to school without getting jumped. My father always came home with a bottle. How much all those things hurt I signed that “Dawson” and all around that I wrote free.
That was the poem that changed my life. The next day I heard their foot steps but this time they didn’t hurt me. They all muttered that
“They” knew how I felt. One by’s father drank and three kids had a dead parent. They left me alone after that, a few of them even became my friends.
He saw it too but he didn’t get angry. He hardly ever had a bottle after that.
Even so, there wasn’t a true happy ending. Mom would always a hole in my life but I know that I, Dawson Yamarr am gonna make it.