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I stepped outside my house for the daily walk around the block. Getting outside the house was a luxury these days. Our freedoms were slowly stripped one after another. I jammed my hands into the pockets of my oversized hoodie and jogged down the steps of my house. Careful not to tread on the grass of my neighbors, I walked down the sidewalk in the brisk air, counting the lampposts as I passed them.
I can hardly call them that anymore. They had so many other things attached to them. The laws of the city, the curfew, and perhaps the largest and most prominent one of all, the number to call to turn someone in. the newest addition though, were the speakers, perched a top of every lamp post, and after the curfew, the motion detecting lights would light if someone walked under them, triggering a woman’s voice from the speaker loudly alerting the neighborhood. It would also notify the city officials.
It was so impossible to escape now, and getting worse every day. I laughed, thinking back to my fantasies with my childhood friends, of one day escaping to one of the nearby nation. I wondered if I would ever get out.
I turned the corner and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a car with tinted windows moving slowly behind me. When it’s driver recognized my notice of it’s presence, the car inched up the street and the window rolled down. Inside was a younger looking man, in the city official suit and reflecting sunglasses.
I had to play my cards right. I politely said, “Can I help you, Sir?”
“What business does a young girl like yourself have doing out on the streets at this time?” A hint of a smile played across his lips, which was strange. The officials were supposed to resemble robots. Completely emotionless.
I looked at my watch, and made it obvious that I was doing so.
“But Sir, it’s only just after 4 o’clock. I don’t understand.”
“Haven’t you read the signs posted? The new curfew is in action today, and in five minutes, you will be breaking it.”
This news shattered my façade. I whirled around to read the nearest lamppost, and indeed, the new curfew was 4:30 p.m.
“I was…just going for a walk. About to turn back soon as well. I’m sorry, Sir, I’ll head straight home.”
“Just going for a walk…”
He trailed off. I was unsure if I should start for home, for my precious minutes were ticking away. Just as I was about to leave, he said, “Just wait. You’ll be free one day.”
Before I could process his words, his window rolled up and the car continued down the street. I studied the rear of the car, the man’s words playing through my mind. You know what it’s like. The last thing you hear bouncing around in your head until the echo becomes faint it disappears into the shadows of your mind, tucked in some corner to be undusted when you remember it’s there.
As I turned to hurry back to my house, I decided that maybe the man’s words weren’t something new that was created to rot away in my mind, but a key that had unlocked something in my mind from before. The idea that freedom was still in sight, and the motivation to reach out and grab it.



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