Countless

There were countless reasons for her not to step over the threshold. She had been born into this home, and her love for it was one of her oldest, and greatest, memories.

She had been brought to life in this home. She had been close to her family and had created friends in it. She had found love in this house and had seen love go away.

She was familiar with all of its rooms, its hidden corners, the scariest part of its dark, cold basement. She had been to its highest turret, and had crawled up to the highest point of its roof to see the vast sky unobstructed.

During all her days and all her nights, she had dwelt inside this home. She living in this house had been her truest definition of herself. This house was all she had known.

Yet she stood at its threshold now, looking away from it. The house had not changed and the people in it remained. Her room in the house was still reserved for her, and it still brought her comfort. She still liked the ways of the house, the way the floors creaked and the way the windows let in the midnight moon.

There were countless reasons for her to close the door and stay. There were countless reasons and her entire life so far.

But here she was at the doorway looking out. This behind her had been her world, but this before her was the world.

She could stay inside and be safe and keep living her life in the way she loved. She could stay with her family and her friends, stay in familiarity and in warmth. She could stay and be well.

There were countless reasons to stay, but now here was one reason to leave:

What if all the world out there would love her more than she loved this home?

 

In response to The Daily Post’s prompt Countless.

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Dead Devotion

It was summer and she was hopeful. They had been out by the water all day and had gone in for a rest. Now they were clean and dry, except for her damp hair that blew wildly out the open window.

The city lights were nearing, speeding quickly on as they drove up and under and around the tangled highway. She could feel the energy of the city spill out to meet the energy increasing in her. The air and lights and cement and radio were churning and pulsing, matching the beat of her mind. She smiled and turned to look at his steady, un-churning face. This is what she had come here for.

They entered the city and crossed straight through it to reach the water once again. This was not the well-kept beach where they had spent the bright, carefree day amongst the usual summer crowd. Here the water met rocks and then cement. Here there were no crowds and every dim street light cast shadows. She was still carefree, but his clenched jaw and fists told her that he was not. She had made her choice and was now free to live in it. Here was where it was his turn to make his. She was hopeful.

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A Cave Called “Hope”

She sat alone in her cave, her back against the curved wall.

She had been living out among the surrounding woods for years and years, playing amongst the trees, being friends with the small animals that shared her space, drinking from the clean rain that fell. She had been at peace in the woods that towered protection over her and gave her what she needed to live. She had never feared its shadows or howling animal calls. She knew these woods loved her and kept her safe.

But now she sat in the damp cave, away from the woods, her dress in tatters and her provisions in a dwindling pile besides her. Hard rain fell outside. She watched the water stream down the stone walls to form muddy puddles on the ground at the cave’s entrance. This was her home now.

She sat silent and unmoving, thinking back to the day she had been drawn out from the woods.

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There Was Once a Cage

There was once a cage
But now I’ve broken free –

I saw your face watch me through the glass
And I took a hammer to the reflection of your eyes.

I tried everything I was brave enough to try,
But cowardice runs deep,
And prudence maimed my feet.

But now I’ve broken free,
And I leave you my cell bars
To throw as daggers to try to trip my feet.

I run fast, as fast as my foolish heart will take me.
You never did say how long you’d watch me go.

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Down a New Way

She walked slowly, carelessly. There was no need to hurry. She had walked down this street endless times, in her childhood, in her youth, and now as an adult. Signs on the buildings had changed. What had once been a Thai restaurant was now a clinic. What had once been the “ghetto” McDonald’s was now a gas station. Some buildings had been torn down; others had been built up. But the street kept its same general face, its same general attitude. She knew that beneath her feet, the ground still knew it was her walking on it, like she had for years and years before.

She came to the corner of her most familiar street the second the lights changed. Stop. Go. A red palm held up and a white figure with legs extended. She stood at the corner where she had stood a thousand times and looked out at her choices.

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Crank the Night

She revved the engine and looked out into the night. The tangle of neon-lit streets spreading out before her seemed to gather at the end of her vision into one single, brilliant point. Finally, she thought, I’ll make it there.

All her life inside the city walls she had been waiting for her keys, for her car, for the ruler who people said was in charge to say, “Go!” But he had never said that word to her; he had never spoken to her at all. So she had decided to find a way out herself, going throughout the confines of the kingdom to barter for a car, to forge its keys, to take one step closer to the outer perimeter, and then another, to see how far she could go before the ruler interfered. She had gotten everything she needed, and he had never tried to stop her. She took that to mean he did not mind much if she left.

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A Rushing and Waiting

She walked out the door and went to stand by the street. She knew it wasn’t time yet, but she couldn’t wait inside any longer. Perhaps if she waited outside it would make him come faster. It was irrational, she knew, but she wondered it just the same. After having waited for so long for this day to come, she would try anything, irrational or not, to make their meeting time arrive. She felt she could not wait one more second.

But she’d have to wait, because she had been outside for half an hour now, 15 minutes past their agreed-upon time, and he still had not come. Tired of standing and having worn out all her nervous energy by pacing back and forth, she plopped down on the curb. She looked at her feet and noticed the many cigarette butts scattered around her. She had gone through half a pack. “He better come soon,” she said aloud to no one, “and he better have cigarettes.”

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