Finding Barcelona*

November 15, 2010
My closet then: Aquas, navys, periwinkles. Even when I shopped for myself, I bought blue—my mother insisted it was my best color.

My closet now: Solidly black. The clothes new, the reasons not—routine is simpler, then becomes impossible to escape.

Lala walks in, chomping Skittles and interrupting the thoughts that have filled my mind for days. I admire my roommate—chocolate skin, million tiny braids, loud wardrobe—but she, too, is here for a reason. Her perpetual candy supply stifles cravings for far worse vices, mostly of white powder.
“Babe, Whit’s waiting.”

My walk is becoming familiar.

Room 116: Kate should model. That opinion is also what led her here—even strawberries became too high in calories for runways.

Room 110: Soft guitar trails from Peyton’s door, cracked open just a bit. That was once required—back when she was a danger to herself if left alone. Now, she likes the reassurance of company, the hallway chatter.

Room 101: It smells like flowers. My first time here, I cynically searched for a plug-in freshener before spotting the fresh magnolias.

“Mmm… blue, my mom—“

Dr. Whitman gently cuts in.

“I thought we were discussing colors you would like to wear, Avery.”

“Um. I don’t… Something that’ll…” I trail off, unsure. Something that’ll what—have no ties to those bruises? Give me hope to start over?

The next day, a dress waits by the flowers.
I wonder how Dr. Whitman knew green—the color of life—was not in my closet, and how she chose this tone, far from my fading beatings. It is bright, cheerful, the skirt full. The type I hope I’d someday pluck from my closet of reds, oranges, even blues!, and wear dancing in Spain, enjoying the swishing fabric and the sound of my laughter.

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