"127 Days"

Cowley Student (Vol. 8: 2019)

The train whistle breaks the silence.  The road is lined with fluorescent signs and street lights, but no cars in sight. The school  is dark, and its playground equipment casts dreadful shadows across the turf.

The church… Is as still as Jesus himself. Ghosts walk across the roof of the old folks home ready to encapsulate their next victim. Porch lights shades of white, yellow, blue, and red. An empty hammock swings lonely;  littered by years of party leftovers.

In the  stillness, my ears ring.  I hear a dog far in the distance; its bark echoing in the silence of the night. The Christmas lights still brightly displayed in March. The park eerily echoing children’s screams. A cat's meow, a jet overhead. All the sounds of life in the suburbs. The calm, the peace,  the false security.

The night brings a blanket of comfort,  I try to evade the memories that govern me. Used to be, the night was life, and It was everything. Each time the train passes I remember the moment I first heard a train in this place and how alarming it was.

I did not choose to come here,  It was against my will “for my protection.” I think it was just to sober me up and to convince me to testify against him.  They held me captive for 127 days.  Until my detox was over. I was strapped down while the poison moved out of me. I was wet, and cold, angry, and violet.   

I still have the straps on my bed, sometimes when I am the most afraid I strap myself in and just wait… breathing deeply until the straps give me that familiar comfort.

Now, I spend most of my days looking out the window at the old 50 ft oak tree. I watch through a small window above my bed.  I can tell you everything about that oak tree each pattern, and leaf.  The old oak hears me, he knows me, and he protects me. I often envision him cracking apart in a thunderstorm and landing on top of me, taking our love affair further. The tree and I becoming one and leave this world together.   I want to touch him, my tree but I can’t.  The doors and windows all weight too much and I can’t escape.  Even if I could, the creaking of the screen door would explode my ear drums.

At night sleep alludes me,  my mind races with what if and why. I check the doors and windows all night. Even though I know he is dead.  I remind myself that he died in my arms. I felt his soul leave.  There was nothing left. It is over…. Still I live in  an invisible fence of containment within the walls. My own perfect eternal, internal conflict.

I don’t know why I never left this place.  The people still come every day. They must think I am sick because they wear scrubs and lab coats. I tell them I am not, That I am happy and like my life. They don’t believe me. I wish they would leave me alone with my oak tree.