She touched the handle and took a moment to breath. Thirteen years and countless pain, but how could she just leave. It’s one thing to think, and say, but when she got to the door she broke. Every tear she had ever shed had become a river pushing against this dam; the only thing left was for her to open the flood gate.
She reached for the handle once more, but by this time she had no more strength: so she picked herself up and returned to her room. Within her small cell was a sleeping bag; the shield that protected her from the tyrannical government she dwelled. She often thought that if she curled got deep enough within the bag, and closed her eyes, that she could escape. But no matter how many times she tried, it never worked. To make matters worse, she could feel the echoes from the stairs… he was coming.
He paraded up the stairs. Upon reaching the top he paused for a minute, took a deep breath, then he strolled across the concrete walkway in one extended motion; that continued until he came upon apartment #11--home. Reaching into his pocket he flipped through his cluttered key ring searching for the key with the tiny red ruby. The ruby was significant because it meant that his aging eyes could find this key in the poorly placed lighting that lingered around his apartment. Once he found the key, all that was left was to insert it and complete the mandated handle dance. A jiggle to the left… jiggle to the right… one strong push back to the left… and click!
While entering the house his stomach let out a cry for help, leading him to remember that he had not had his daily sweets. But in the middle of his pondering of which sweet he was going to go get, he realized that it was the end of the month and he had spent the remaining food stamps on a chocolate cake days before. In a fit of frustration he thought about her mother and how she had been with her the day before; so he marched down the hall and straight through the door.
“Get up!” he said with a stern tone ,“we are going to go get candy from the corner store.” While finishing his statement he reached for the hot pink bunny bank that was on the corner of her dresser.
“Hey!” she shouted,”that’s mine! You don’t have a right to take my money!”
Infuriated he shouted back at her, “get your a** up, we are going to the store, NOW!”
Tears streamed down her cheeks as she turned to scream back at him, “I DON’T WANT TO GO, AND YOU SHOULDN’T TAKE MY MONEY!”
“I AM YOUR FATHER, AND I WILL DO AS I PLEASE. AND YOU NEED TO STOP CRYING; YOU AREN’T HURT,” then, with one big slam he charged through the house and out the front door.
Minutes after he left she could still feel the ringing of his voice. Each breath she drew pulled the next wave of tears onto her lap; at this point she was done. She got up, and began packing a bag. She did not have much time so she grabbed only the essentials: her favorite pair of tan corduroy pants, the superwoman onsie her mother had given her for christmas, two tie dye shirts, a black velvet sweater, and her drawing book. Looking back into her room she took a moment to say goodbye, this would be the last time that she would get to see the golden rays of light split her room through that one tiny window. With a deep breath she turned and headed to the front door.
She grabbed the door handle once more, but this time with every micro-spect of strength that she had left. Tears cascaded down her face like maggots escaping a wound… and then she did it. The door swung open, releasing a wave of energy into the atmosphere, followed swiftly by the first steps of her newborn self. She moved so quickly that she didn’t even think twice about leaving the door unlocked. Once a safe distance away she sat below an old oak tree and thought about what had just occurred; thirteen years of imprisonment was gone,but now she was all alone in the forest.
He looked down at her sitting on the leaf covered ground and smiled. He did not know that he would see her today because she never goes outside. After a moment of watching the way that the light hit her hair, he realized that she was crying; he ran over to her and took her in his arms. She looked up and let out a deep, long sigh that curled the corner of her mouth into a smile. This created more confusion to him, but he did not argue because he loved her smile. With her in his arms he got up and begun to run, which made her explode with laughter.
“I’m free!” She shouted between fits of laughter.
As they walked through the fall kissed forrest he turned to her, only to see her fiery red hair ignited by the last rays of light cutting through the trees. She smiled at him, turned, and began scooping up the maple leaves; only to shower them other herself. Her image became a whirlwind of fiery reds broken up by the glowing white from her smile. It was in this moment that he too became red; leaving this world behind him to join with her in an elusive paradise within the leaves.
But as the sun tucked behind the mountain and the sky began it’s descent into darkness, a feeling washed over her. Their paradise was gone and this was the time that people normally go home. She knew that within the next minutes he would be returning to a family, but what she did not know was where she belonged. Because it’s one thing to think, and say, but when she got into the world she was all alone… empowered but alone.
Empowered But Alone
April 26, 2017