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I didn’t want to feel safe tonight
I could have gone to a part of town I knew. All my life I sensed that sweepers would never be far away if I needed someone to call, and if I didn’t want them to be in the shadows - tough luck, you can’t escape the eyes of the centre or my father. Even trained as a cleaner, Daddy still sent them along. It felt like an insult as if he doubted my abilities and it annoyed me to his paid minders watching me at my most vulnerable while he himself was never there to comfort me.
So tonight the princess has snuck out of the palace. For months I’ve been so envious of Jarod’s freedom. I’m supposed to be the one looking over his shoulder I know but I never wanted this job. I wanted to get on with my career leave the past in the past, live in the moment and the future. But Jarod’s hung up on what’s gone before and what lies under the surface, hell bent on digging it up and wafting it under my nose. So tonight I just wanted to get away from all the people who say they are looking out for me but are really just spying and suffocating me. Tonight I wanted to be blind, drunk and alone with no thoughts and no one to bring me back to my senses.
I know drunk is vulnerable, drunk and vulnerable in a strange place is stupid. My reflexes are dulled by alcohol, the world is floating the atmosphere haze. I feel a hand on my shoulder, The type of hand I’d normally have broken by now, but I’m not quick enough, I don’t care enough, until it is too late.
I don’t know where I am, I have a splitting headache and it is cold. My first thought with consciousness is how the ground is treating my outfit. It is concrete, the cold it communicates absorbs straight into my heart. There is the muffled noise of cars and I figure I must be near a busy road, sectioned off somehow though. I blink but wonder if I moved my eyes at all for there is no difference between the darkness of my mind and the darkness outside it that surrounds me. I feel heavy teetering on the keen edge of pain. I am tentative of fully regaining consciousness as I sense the fuzziness is protecting me from what will soon be a very sharp awareness of whatever has happened to me. It is stuffy I move and stifle breath. I hope whatever has happened to me has happened and that I am not trussed up here as they wait for me to regain consciousness so they can do whatever it is when I am aware of it. Thankfully I seem to be alone and the pain is suitably intense and becoming more so, to assure me whatever has happened has happened. I feel no phone in my pocket and moving my head sends shooting white blindness but I’m determined to no longer remain this helpless and force myself into a sitting position. I sense I am in an alley as my eyes adjust a bit and I make out some Bins. I pull myself upwards. Not even one have jarod’s tricks has put me in a situation this unsavoury though I have to admit some of them came close. I head towards the sound of the cars but the road is unrecognizable. It seems a poor area, My clothes are torn and I feel the early morning air seeping in through every thread of the thin material. I put my hand to my head and move closer to the road. It is not busy but there is an occasional car. The area seems made up mainly of housing. Well I wanted to be truly alone and now I feel it in full force. A tear runs unchecked. I lift leaden feet slowly warming into movement I make some progress up the street. My eyes strain for a sign or landmark. It is a long walk and I don’t know where I am going which makes it feel endless. I’m unsteady like I’m drifting, like nothing matters anymore I don’t even want to find my way, afraid to open my eyes fully in case I make out something familiar. I just want to find someplace to curl up and let go of all that’s pent up that I can’t name but is causing intense pressure inside my head. The cold soothes my head and I welcome the freshness of the air in my lungs reassuring me I am still alive. The fact nobody knows where I am makes me free to not have to be anywhere or preparing to go there. That sense of well being is short lasting. Memory tugs hard and I suddenly feel nauseous. Mindless distraction of the freedom of the moment blows away. I am left feeling exposed and uncertain, unsafe in myself. I’ve no idea what to do or where to go and that starts to matter again. I wish I could rewind to when it didn’t again.
How do I swallow this trauma, how do I react. I’ve blanked out so much of my life is there space in that untouchable part of my mind for one more sanity testing event. There is no one to strike out at, I bury myself in the task at hand of trying to find my way trying to focus on nothing else. Slowly the streets start to seem more familiar and I finally find my way back to a part of town I know. But I’m not sure I want to be there in case I see someone I know in case they see me, like this. I find myself outside a bakery I vaguely remember Sydney recommending as where he always stops to buy breakfast. I don’t think I want to meet him and he wouldn’t be here for an hour or so, the darkness is getting less dense so I figure it’s near 6am. I don’t know where to go onto so I find an out of the way corner and slip to the ground my back against cold brick. All I want to do is sit here and rock myself to sleep, to return to the bliss of knowing nothing. Tortured thoughts hint through my mind but for the moment I am saved from their meaning by not yet having pieced the jigsaw of my shattered night together. Gradually the street fills with people, I press myself against the wall and watch. At 7 am sharp Sydney’s car pulls up. One part of me darts towards him the other holds back in my hiding place but the word escapes my lips before I can catch it just as he passes nearby. He looks up and around. He senses something and heads around the corner into the alleyway in which I am crouched.
He calls with a frown. We haven’t been on the best of terms since I took up the Jarod project. He resents my position and I’ve been taking advantage of it and doing my best to reject the kindness in his eyes I often fear I will fall into. I light a cigarette. I reached for it from habit and it is only as an afterthought as I touch the thin cylinder that I breath a sigh of relief that crutch wasn’t stolen from me. I light up and breathe out smoke. He sniffs it looks down and makes out my silhouette.
He questions in disbelief.
I spit out aiming for nonchalant, only just achieving flippant. I cross my arms gathering my dignity around me despite my appearance that is half concealed in the shadow. I stub out the cigarette on the wall,
“As long as you are here you could give me a ride home.”
I state, aiming unsteadily for his car.
He demands. My focus is fully fastened on making a steady entrance through the door but my hands shake to spite me.
“I don’t want to know.”