The Perpetual Circle

By , Sandy, UT
The schoolyard seems to spin around you in a dizzying swirl of green and blue before you hit the pavement, hard. Shakily, you stand to see the gang darting off. That had not gone as planned. You wince as you feel the sting on your face where they punched you. Now you run home to see what might’ve changed, what would be different when you reach the scene of the nightmare.

“Please be there, please be there,” you murmur as you fling open the screen door, speed up the creaking stairs and burst into the second room on the left, the nursery-like one with the lacy pink curtains framing the broken and splintered window.

A piercing scream shatters the unnatural silence of the house. It was your own. You see your little sister, her soft caramel colored hair all askew over her pale face, lying on the floor. “Don’t let her be dead, please, I’ll do anything,” you pray, “Don’t put us through this all over again!” That’s when you see the blood seeping through her shirt onto her favorite jacket and you fumble for your cell phone in vain, knowing it’s too late.

The ambulance’s flashing lights brighten everything around you every other second as you stare out the back window on your way out of the maze of your neighborhood. Your neighborhood is not your home. The streets are the enemy; if a child took one step out onto the front porch of a house in your neighborhood, they would be instantly hurried back inside by their loving and caring mother. If they had a loving and caring mother.
The ambulance’s whining and howling call your neighbors, a dangerous mix of criminals and families with small children, from their old, beat up houses. They stand huddled on their porches, wondering who is hurt now. The drive out of your neighborhood seems to last for an eternity, and forever you see those sad, knowing eyes piercing into you.
You are stopped at the hospital. It’s the same old thing, all over. Again you see your sobbing mother being held back by the nurses as they wheel your sister away, your older brother staggering into the lobby, angry and drunk. Your father was never there for you or your family. Most of all, you are slowly crushed by the mountain of cold, dark guilt, pressing down on you. Guilt’s painfully familiar voice inside your head whispers accusingly, “This is your entire fault!” Everything boils down to the empty grief.

You think about how you had tried to change it. In your darkest hour you were given another chance, to go back in time a day before the crime and prevent it from happening. You went to your sister’s elementary school playground and met up with the other members of the gang, explaining you didn’t have the money for the drugs yet, but that you could find some, if only they would give you a chance. You thought if you didn’t run away and try to hide this time, they wouldn’t punish you by taking away someone that you love. You were wrong.

You think about the disaster your life is right now. Why did you make all the wrong friends? How did you let yourself get hooked on drugs? Why did your father abandon you and your family to be lost on the wrong side of the tracks, never to return when you most needed him? You decide right then and there you will go back and stop it, for real this time. . .

The schoolyard seems to spin around you in a dizzying swirl of green and blue before you hit the pavement, hard. Shakily, you stand to see the gang darting off. That had not gone as planned. You wince as you feel the sting on your face where they punched you. Now you run home to see what might’ve changed, what would be different when you reach the scene of the nightmare.
__________________

You don’t realize that this has been your life for years now. You aren’t who you used to be anymore. Over and over again you relive that day. Your world is a tireless circle, and every time you watch your sister die and your mother cry, you try desperately to fix things, go back in time and change it. You plunge deeper and deeper into the trap, and no one else can see it. No one can help you out. You are cursed, forced to live your life running around a single-day long track, and only you can decide when you want to live the rest of your life. Only you can decide when your race is over. But will you ever allow it to be over?
___________________

I watch you carefully as you snap out of your trance and stare at me in disbelief. I pick up my freshly sharpened pencil and ask the typical question: “How do you feel?” I put the pencil to the clean white paper and wait for you to speak. “Dizzy,” you answer, “Dizzy.”

As the clock on the wall ticks away and the minutes go by, even I, your psychiatrist, don’t understand that inside your head, those words triggered the memory of the schoolyard, spinning around you in a dizzying swirl of green and blue. . .

You suddenly run to the open window. “Whoa—what are you doing?! Don’t!” I scream, but you don’t seem to hear it. I leap up and bound across the room, but I am too late. Without looking back, you jump, and plummet down, down to the street from the fifteenth story window.

You hit the pavement, hard. And for a moment, your entire world goes black, before you see your little sister. She smiles, the light reappears, and you are finally at peace.





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