Stories from Growing Up: Not a Wardrobe to Narnia

Running for safety is not graceful. It is tucking yourself away in the back of a closet, smothered in the smell of stale shoes and feeling the grit of dirt pressing into your feet. You sit back as far as you can, hoping the coats will cover you and no one will know where you’ve gone.

Safety, at times, is knowing where other people are, just as much as knowing where you are.

I did not know that he was coming down the stairs. In the briefest moment, I mistook his scream for saying “goodbye,” to us as we were leaving. The chase scene plays over in my head on a reel: she is trying to get out and he is exploding.

He is the collision of a glass ashtray on her head, a storm punctuated by thunder, and I am terrified to be caught in it, so I run to find safety. They go at each other relentlessly, until somebody wins. He leaves, she cleans up the mess.

I just wanted to learn how to dance. We were going to dance. when my mom found me and said he just made a mistake, I decided I could never go back.

She tried not to cry.



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