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Angst From Long Ago


            I’m stomping my feet around the room—in anger, annoyance, distrust. I want to throw off my clothes and dance with abandon, knowing no one’s watching or judging. I want to slap my red rain boots into the solid earth, roll in the grass among the flowers, tell everyone to f*** off, tear down the fence and not care if I get splinters, run down the street yelling like a crazy person. “Ahhhhhhh…..”

            II want to unleash the child I lost, the playful one, the one who punched the neighbor boy on the nose because he threatened to lock my sister in a garage.

            II want to skate down the middle of the street and in old houses like the ones my father built, where round metal pieces fell from electrical sockets we pretended were coins. I want a bicycle like the other kids have and I don’t want to go home when I’m supposed to. I want to keep skating, to my school, where no one is mean.

            II want to pet the dog that comes by, or practice my clarinet, or help the teacher who likes me. But I don’t want to go home where there’s anger and madness. I want to stay outside without having to water rows of berries, although I like to suck on them, letting their juices slide across my tongue. I want to play with the other children by my house, the ones whose parents like them.

            But now I can take care of myself. I don’t have to hold back. I can dance in the middle of the street, shaking my head from side to side, letting my hair flop up and down, pumping my fists in the air, hearing music in my head, watching neighbors peer out their windows, wondering if they should call someone, or come out to see if I’m okay.

           I am okay. Maybe for the first time. Feeling my body, smelling the ocean, touching the asphalt with the softness of my house slippers, tasting the mist drifting down from the blue sky.

            I lean over, bending my body in half. Touching my toes, I remember calisthenics in my P.E. class, where I wished for boobs like the other girls, or that I was good at baseball, not the last one picked for a team. I wanted to be popular, with cool clothes, not ones my mother made. I remember the saddle shoes she bought for me, worse than the penny loafers she only let me wear to church.

             But I’m someone new now. I start running down the street hearing ravens mocking me as I pass. I’m out of my body, flying, not limited by bad knees or mended ankles. My heart opens to the surroundings, hoping the nearby waves will see me.

            I fall to the ground, caressing it, feeling the pebbles on my knees. My voice raises, loudly, with words I do not hear.

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