He grabbed me by the arm, yanking me to my feet and angrily pulling me toward the door. Swinging the door open he shoves me onto the threshold. “See that?” his muffled voice rings heatedly in my ear. He’s mad at me. Not unusual. I imagine he wants to tear me apart, I can hear the pained restraint in his voice. “You see…” but I never did hear what he wanted me to see. I took off running. I ran. I sprinted, socks on my feet, across the concrete, through the wet grass, and over bushes until I stopped in front of the community gate: the only obstacle stopping me from being recaptured by the family I loved and loathed with two hearts, both confused and coexisting. I pondered for a moment about the implications of jumping that gate. I thought about what it meant for me to run away; if it was “right”, but it was fleeting, I didn’t wait long enough for the thought to change my mind. I quickly hurled myself over it, fast and easy, as if I had done it a million times — in my mind I had– and I took off running. Again. My socks blackening against the asphalt, the hole on my left sole expanding with every step. I ran off my cares, I ran off my worries, I ran off my remaining guilt, but when I began to tire and my legs began to slow, it all came back. All the feelings, the regret. So I ran again, straight across the street, into a cul-de-sac. Loud barking, a lit garage, two men… A dog had run at me, warning me back, seeming to say, “come closer and I’ll take your arm”. I smiled, go ahead, take it. I have little use for it now. I had no interest in living or any interest in what that dog could or would do to me. I was disinterested in every way and that was the worst thing for me. “Boy! Come back! Back, boy!” the dog obeyed, but I had already run back where I had come, taken a right, and run further and further down the road shoeless and suicidal. What a terrible mix. Eventually, I stopped running and started walking up and down the lonely road. I was alone, the road was alone, we were a pair and we stuck together. I walked out into the middle of my new friend and sat down, waiting for something, anything, to happen. I laid my head back against the blackness and looked up at the midnight sky. What a beautiful night it was. God really had out done himself. It would be a wonderful night to die. Comfortable in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms with a beautiful sky to stare up at, I waited for a car. A truck, a smart car, big, small, it wouldn’t matter. I waited for the inevitable. I waited for what I needed. And there I was left to thinking.
My family was crazy. That was obvious, but I was crazy too. I was lying in the middle of the road, wishing someone would come run me over. That made me crazy. I couldn’t deny myself the logic. All I wanted was peace. Peace of mind, peace of body, peace of heart. I wanted my soul to stop crying. I wanted a life free of fear. But that was something death could not give me. This was technically suicide. Suicide leads to Hell and Hell was all torture and fire all the time. Any good Christian girl knows that. So what was it that I needed? My friend had told me it was “fulfillment”. Maybe not religion, but something like it. Reasonable, I supposed. Who really knew anyway? So I prayed. Hard and long. About everything. Thanking God for my friends and the night sky, for my life, and the love that I hadn’t yet abandoned. Asking him to take me back and help in my pursuit of happiness. I got up and walked away, off the road, and back toward my bed, lighthearted and empty of regret. A few minutes passed and a car zipped by, running over the spot my head had lain.
Thank God for second-guessing.