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These Walls, My World
Bombs. Everywhere. I looked at her dirty brown hair, which was outlined by the pale morning sky and her crooked nose and how it angled from injury. I noticed the realization of danger flash across her vacant eyes, her scars and the bloodstains on her shirt leaving her in filthy mess of murder and crime. Shot. Dead. Her companion was too slow, too injured to move to safety. Her hand reached for her lover, but she soon drew her arm back, careful not to expose herself to her assaulters. She sat, breathing heavily, not knowing what to do. Just when she thought she could slip away, a bomb, big and violent exploded the remnants of the car and the movie cut to blackness. Credits.
Dead-eyed and tired, I watched the credits come and go off the television screen. I saw 23:56 on my cell phone and I returned it to the pocket of my hoodie. “It’s way past time to go to bed,” I thought, brushing an escaped strand of hair from my face and pushing it back into my pony-tail. Reaching for the remote, I heard a few noises behind me, coming from the kitchen. I slowly turn around.
“Hey,” said my brother, causing me to jump.
“Oh, hey,” I said blandly. “How was work? I didn’t hear you come in, I might’ve been a little consumed in a movie I was watching.”
“Yeah, work was the usual; serving annoying people frozen cow juice,” he said with a shrug. I crossed the cold tile floor to the end of the kitchen.
“Good times,” I said nodding my head, turning around to face him.
“You should go to bed, it’s late.”
“I know. I just finished watching a movie.” I started moving towards the doorframe of the kitchen. “Blood and gore, all the way,” I joked, turning on my heel.
“Night,” he said returning to the fridge.
“Goodnight. See you tomorrow,” I called over my shoulder.
It was late and he was right, I should be in bed. Again I heard a noise and jumped, but it was only the top step, speaking beneath my foot.
“Calm down,” I told myself. “Nothing’s going to attack me,” I thought bolting into my room. I quickly flipped the light on, closed the door behind me, ran to my bed and collapsed on it.
Finally, in my room; the one place I let my imagination roam free. It’s the place where I can think or say something and let the words dance on the windowpane. When I feel calm, the pictures in my room start waltzing with my thoughts. They paint images in my sketchbook and they stamp my voice in the ceiling. Embedded in the walls are my secrets and my wishes that come alive at night in my ever-changing dreams. My room is the place I feel safest, where I know nothing will touch me on the top corner of my house.
Finally, safe in my little cove, I snuggle into my bed and let my thoughts loose in my head. Bang! I see her lover dead on the ground with blood seeping from his wound. “No!” I think and my eyes fly open. The warming sight of my room softly lit by my small nightlight comforts me and eventually lulls me back into a pleasant doze.
Crash! I see the bombing of the dirty, rusty car. I see the screen cut to black and everything around me whirls into a dance studio. I’m dancing! I’m free from the explosions. I feel weightless, like I’m being lifted up to the heavens and my hands grasp something rough like bark. I’m climbing a tree, now! Higher, higher and I’m almost at the top, but I reach for the next branch and I lose my footing. I’m weightless again, this time falling. I’m slipping away from existence by falling closer and closer to the earth. As my life flashes before my eyes, I hit the ground and the impact wakes me from my death-dream.
Panting, I sit up and look around and I blindly fumble to my right to plug in the all-time Christmas light hung up around my bed. I finally get them in and I wince at the dim light, letting my eyes adjust.
“It was just a dream,” I say aloud, trying to recapture what I had just experienced; the horror of the explosion, the pleasure of the dancing, the effort of the climbing and loveliness of the falling. “It was just a dream,” I lamely think, shaking my head to clear the thoughts. I rest my face in my hands “I’m okay,” I think, reassuring myself. “Nothing can touch me. I’m in my room.”
I look about myself at my surroundings, examining the walls, the picture frames. I look at my first pair of pointe shoes and then my eyes wander to the tree I drew in third grade. Taking a breath, I then look at my muddled sheets, all wadded up in a ball, making sure I’m not still dreaming, but I’m not. I’m in my room; my real room, where nothing can touch me but my imagination.