The rebellion of a not so rebellious girl.
I waited until the last light in the house was extinguished, until the inhabitants were drifting into that deep slumber that would never be disturbed. When I was sure that nothing in the world could awaken the bodies in the next rooms, I moved from my own bed to the wall length wardrobe, where I slowly opened its drawers. Beads of perspiration forming at my hairline as I struggle to move in silence. Suddenly the quiet act of removing a pair of blue jeans from their drawer requires the strategical hands of an open heart surgeon. Every movement creates a sound so horrendous, it could wake the corpses in the room across the hall. One leg in the jeans means a pause to listen for footsteps, voices, anything that would signal I had been caught. Another leg in, and the terrific crescendo of a zipper being pulled into place. The simple act of pulling on a pair of trousers took decades in minutes. With a heart pounding within a chest liable to explode from its confines and a lead weight placed at the bottom of a stomach, keys were knocked from their place to the floor in a moment of clumsy fumbling toward them. I leapt to the floor on top of them and waited once more for a living sound that never came. I slowly wrapped my fingers around those metal daggers to silence their jingling, carefully sliding them into my pocket as if they were ticking down to the moment they would erupt again. A hand on the door slowly opens it and a keen memory of the floor boards begin the movement of my shadow down the stairs and to the door, which had been silently opened and quickly exited as years of practice could only bring.
Freedom had been established.
I hopped down the street, pulling my shoes on, not even stopping to secure them. These moments are everything to me. Moments filled with the hot sticky air of the mid-autumn evenings as September trickles into October. The air that envelopes me in its sweaty presence is more of a home than anything I have ever known. The night isn't cold, but I shiver from the sheer delight of the knowledge that this hour I have out here is mine. Alone.
I walk down the street that I had memorised by heart, past the places that I had fallen from trees and fences, climbing them because it was more sensible to me than walking. I walk by the places of lemonade stands and countless entrepreneurial enterprises conceived to buy an ice cream at the shop because a mother had denied her daughter the currency to obtain her goal. Past the place where a first kiss was had with a boy, oh a boy, a boy that has never faded from her heart. A restless heart. A heart that needs to watch the stars in the middle of the night while the world sleeps within.
My possessed feet carry me past the places that hold everything so dear to my being, to the one place my head and heart find solace; a place to revert to childhood fancy. My heart pounds against the cage its held within, as I catch glimpse of a street-light illuminated place. As if to appease the pleas of my heart, my legs break into an impatient run off the concrete of the street and up the sloping grass hill toward the place I seek. I reach it and grab hold of the chain flinging myself into the seat and kicking my being into the safety of the structure, into the safety of the wind that tousles my hair, into the safety of flight. I close my eyes against the rush of the backward and forward movement as I begin to fly closer and closer to the stars. Sitting on my pendulum, testing the physics of momentum, I close my eyes and fall back as far as my arms will allow without failure, and test the aerodynamics of a body floating through the air.
My lashes flutter open and I watch the stars above my head. This is where I am meant to be. No matter what happens, this place is mine. I pull upon the chains that my fingers have held for so many years without notice. I pull myself to rights again and watch as my feet move in and out of hiding. With a final sigh I let my body slip from its carrier and land on the firm ground as I had done since...I can't even remember. Time becomes one big expanse when you're young; a week becomes a month, a month a year, and a year an eternity. To me, the sixteen years had been nothing less than forever. Lying upon the ground on the spot where I jumped I wonder at something. Something is out of place. The landing was harder than the ones of my youth. At seven the same jump was achieved without a sound, now it cannot be escaped without a dull thump. Does one ever have moments when they forget that they are no longer 4 feet tall, but 5'7” now? It puzzles. I sit up and watch the quiet neighbourhood in front of me. No one knows that I am here. Alone.
I lie back down upon the grass that tickles through the thin cotton that separates my skin from its surface. I watch those constant stars and play with my wind tousled hair.
This is what the night was meant for.