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In 1998

By , Stonington, CT
The night was as dark as a cats slitted pupil. It rang of mistrust and danger when I stepped into its cold embrace, but still I followed its call trustingly, like a lost needy puppy. It sounded like glass being melted together, a strangely soothing noise. I could smell the evil lurking invisible in its depths, like a whiff of poison beneath the honeyed exterior of wine, but still, still blindly I walked forward. I know you said it is dangerous, I know you said I shouldn’t, and even now I can see your tired, strained face inches from my own, trying once more to instill in me a sense of fear, of self preservation. I don’t want to worry you like I do, I don’t, but when you at last fade into sleep in our warm, safe bed, I can’t help but turn to the window, to the night, and feel the itch of freedom crawl across my pale skin. It crawls up my arms, to my shoulders, then my neck and finally drips into my mouth, and if I lick my lips I can’t taste it at all. But when its there, oh, it tastes like the color red, so full of life and rage and power. I need it, do you understand? I need it. It tastes like warm days spent in a tree when I was young, in Newton, Indiana, roaming the wild countryside alone, except for Eddie Roligton, the drunks son. Back when my parents wouldn’t see me for days at a time, when the twisted stumps and dead grasses of the hills knew me better than my own brothers and sisters. That was freedom, just me and the drunks son in a separate world from our burdened and broken parents.
And I know you can’t understand, that you were raised in upstate New York in a suburb full of quiet neighbors and obedient children. I know that you were the broken one, not your parents, only you were full of the strength to shake the yokel from your shoulders and run free to the wild and strange city. But still, still when I tell you these things late at night, when I tell you what Eddie Roligton did to me, what my brothers and sisters did cloaked in night, how my parents raised their children, you look at me with such pain that I feel you don’t hear me when I say that it was normal. That it was expected. And now, now that we live here, surrounded by comforting walls of stone and steel, enclosed like the animals at the zoo you took me to in 1998, the one that I cried at the whole time, you can sleep soundly, safe in our bed, but I can only turn to the window, to the bright white night, and taste traces of freedom trickling down my parched and cracked throat.





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