the last night

I’ve downed almost an entire bottle of red blend. I can’t even afford a bottle of wine right now, but it’s my last night in this house and my roommate made spaghetti. I rushed to the grocery store and bought a cheap bottle and a loaf of garlic bread. I am toasting to the walls.

I sit on the porch. This porch has been my safe haven for a year now. I wake up, fix a cup of a coffee, and sit. I sit and smoke a cigarette and watch the street. Tonight the dope house is busy. Cars slow to a halt, turn off their lights, and crawl to their fix. They drive away. An assembly line of addicts mobilizes on 39th.

My belongings are packed in cardboard boxes marked this or that. I think I stuffed my life in there by mistake; you’re supposed to poke holes if they’re going to breathe in there, darling.

Tomorrow I will be somewhere different. I will be in my hometown, but it will be different. I am scared. I am excited. I do not know what to expect.

“None of your cousins did this. It seems like you’re…downgrading.”

I only expect results. I made the decision to move back so I could focus on writing. Life has been good, but it has been distracting. You lose focus.
I am trading freedom for discipline. I am afraid that I am not up for the task.

There’s a clipping sound coming from the wall. Flora’s flanks quiver as she stalks it. A little black speck leaps high and she strikes, pressing it under her paws. The bug crawls from underneath and they play this until it moves not longer. Flora’s big slanted eyes look to me for approval.
How will she adjust to the new house?

A few nights ago I was in my bed when I heard the gunshots. I heard a line of them and froze in my sheets. Another round went off. My roommate burst into my room and screamed at me, “get on the ground!”
I prefer this comfort.
How will I adjust to the new house?

I have built my home. It’s foundations wobble, but I built it, damn it, it’s mine.
I didn’t swoop in on a foreclosure and steal a home. No, I built my home out of dirt and junk. Its walls quiver after a stormy night. But it stands. It stands and I leave it. The planks of wood are stacked and will remain. I am the one who leaves.

I have been pacing back and forth, peering out and over the edge, but after a million gazes it’s still the same, dark abyss it ever was. I have decided to jump. I am at the edge and a part of me wants to change my mind. Nobody is pushing me. I don’t have to jump.
But I am committed.
I will jump.

“Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall,” as Ray Bradbury would say.

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