Don’t Walk

I sit in the third floor corner of the library beneath rows of books. I’m supposed to be writing, but I’m distracted by rows of unreadable books. The authors and playwrights are foreign names and their introductions ambiguous. One cover displays a young woman with cropped blond curls and eyes mesmerized by a magazine. The eyelids are a dark shadow, and her white pupils appear close to becoming part of the page.

Another about a house on fire shows clothes tucked into a queen-size bed and planted on a dark horizon. But that cover resonates with me. My bed is suspended in the air, and with one breeze, my naked body is exposed.  Where are the clothes that protected me and gave me a sense of belonging? The light has burnt out like a hand covering a firefly. But I wish this hand would let my firefly free.

What does it mean to be on the boat, near land and not even care about being saved? Another shows obscure inhabitants floating on somber waters. They look at the landscape that awaits them. Is it home or a new beginning? The white sea is rushing at them, but does not deplete their hope.

Even the clouds are contemplating storm or sun. One of them stands defiantly, daring nature to make obstruction. I know nature won’t defeat them just like it won’t defeat me, but no one will help them. It feels like no one can help me. Why should they? What have I done in this world that has made some difference? I have served my community and succeeded in school, but did that change someone’s life? Did that change the world? I have done what’s asked of me. I have followed society’s rules and been on the path to making my own.

I have enjoyed material possession and unhealthy food. I have obsessed over my body and asked other people not to. I have tried to get along and make friends, but will it be any fun if I have to wear a life vest for the rest of my life? I’m like these rows of books that for some reason can’t be opened, read or understood.

So I just keep walking. I want to be a young woman who prevails. Like that rocking boat, one part wants to reach the shore, but the other half thinks it might be better to drown.

I leave that library of books and their ambiguous faces. The street is another scene of activity, and I am an invisible participant. A pigeon craps on the Don’t Walk sign, and an elderly lady holds tightly onto her grandson’s hand. No one’s holding my hand. Is that supposed to make me stronger?

The sign says Don’t Walk. So I do.

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