Two Homes

February 9, 2010
By , Seattle, WA
Through the spongy grass, down the slick mud steps, slide along the muddy slope, under the heavy branch thick with deep green moss, over the little wood planks, jump onto the long aluminum piece of bench that stretches over the deep water, jump three long feet to the bank where arms flail in attempt to regain balance, over the pond, slip slide over the wooden bridge that covers the murky swamp, up the dirt path with mossy green rocks, ducking beneath blackberries determined to have a bit of skin, and into the clearing. A tirade of picnic tables in a large triangle frame my favorite place in the world. I have spent years here, watching this place grow and bloom. It began as a bare place, much like I was when I first came here. I have seen the leaves fall, dancing their autumn dance, swirling around me as I breathe the crisp autumn air. I have seen the first frost, been privileged to see the slight crunchy white ice dusting the fallen leaves. I have seen the sky, dark grey and thick with cold, open up and sprinkle little pieces of tender ice that blanket the ground around me, leaving chilly innocence in its wake. I have seen the first green bud peek its scared head bravely through its winter coat to greet the spring. I see everything go from brown, to orange, to white, to green, back to brown. This is my home, no roof, no walls. This is my safety, it is so unlike there.

Down the curve, across twelve streets, up and down hill both ways, crunch up the gravel driveway, unlock the cold door, duck under the excited Dalmatian, avoid the jumping Pit Bull, and pat the docile black labs head. Hurry down the dark hall to an even darker room. Four walls, still painted in childish colors of pink and lavender make up my torture room, begging pardon, my bedroom. I’ve spent too many years here, watching myself grow in the bathroom mirror. My eyes never change, always a mirror image of what transpires here. I have seen the bowls and cups fly, leaving trails of whatever was inside of them along the floor. I have cleaned endless messes off the walls, picked up sharp shards of broken ceramic; I have kept the mess away from them so they never have to see the product of their fights. I have spent years here, listening for the raised voices that mean a fight is coming, feeling fear pulse through me as I run before belt meets flesh in a stinging “hello”. I see everything go from tense silence, to raised voices, to escalated screams, to slaps exchanged, to tackle on the floor, back to tense silence. This is my official home, with four thin walls that don’t hide the cries in the middle of the night. This is so unlike my safety…

My safety is always serene, even when I’m trembling with a feeling so hot and cold at the same time. When my hands shake, and my throat burns, my body churning with this feeling. There are no walls here, no one near to hear my screams. So I scream, I yell and I cry until I am hoarse and ready to collapse. I ask “WHY WHY WHY!” I blame them all for this, I blame none of them for this, I hate myself for letting this go on, I love myself for helping them, I hate them for hurting me, I love them for not hitting me, I hate how much I love them. My safety gathers around me, soothing me with its calm whispers of wind in the leaves. It cuddles me close in its crispy air, biting my skin some how giving comfort for it. I begin to cry; gasping, shaking, little sounds of pain escaping my lips. A deep moan grows in my throat, eager to be let out, to tell the world that I hurt and I don’t know why. I fall into the piles of leaves, their deadness surrounding me. I feel safe, I feel so safe… This is the only place I can ever really let myself feel emotion. This is my home.





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