Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Empty Boxes

Four empty boxes lay in the corner of my freshly painted room. Nothing smelled worse than the stench of wet paint. Not only was it the kind of smell to give you a massive headache. But, to me it was the smell of change. My room was once mint green with blue trim. Fit my personality perfectly. Now it was this blinding white that made me feel like I was some crazy person thrown into the loony bin. Nevertheless, there I sat on my black futon staring at these four boxes. I have never hated an inanimate object so much. My hatred for these dreadful things was so great I just wanted to shoot laser beams out of my eyes and burn them to the ground. After awhile of glaring at these things my head hurt. Finally, I sighed and fell back on the futon. Realizing that no matter how hard I try these dumb boxes will not burn. I stared at the tiles on my ceiling wondering how I would fit all the things from my childhood into these four boxes.  
A loud crash brought me out of a daze. Curiously, I wandered up the stairs and into the living room. All of it was empty. The white leather couches were gone. Our spider lamp was packed. Feeling a deep pain in my chest, I had to move on. Looking out of our giant windows that overlooked our entire backyard, our beautiful in ground pool that had so many memories, in our driveway I saw a large red dumpster. There were my two oldest brothers throwing in our dining room table, the same table that came with us from Colorado when I was three. It was the table that held my birthday presents when I was turning eight. The one I ran into after being chased by my brothers. Sure it was rickety and wobbly. But it was my table. Something started to boil. I couldn’t tell if it was anger or hatred. A burning sensation ran through my veins. My fists clenched until my nails dug into my fits and my knuckles were white. Looking around desperately for something that did not show change, I began to run. I ran through my house. First, through the kitchen with every cupboard empty and the lonely refrigerator standing there, then down the hall where our school pictures once hung on the walls. Everything was gone. My brother’s room was cleared out. My parent’s bed was gone. My childhood was over. Now the burning sensation that coursed through my veins stopped. My anger was gone and my feet would not move. I was firmly planted in the middle of the hall just staring longingly into my parent’s room. In one instant my knees buckled and my body collapsed. My face hit the ground with a thud and then my body followed with a flop. Laying there in the fetal position a familiar sensation came back to me. It was the emotion I knew quite well. Where your eyes burned, almost to the point of pain, until water came springing from them. They would start out slow then you’d work into a great sob. Eventually your throat would develop a knot. Like a swallowed a gumball was lodged in between your mouth and your stomach.
A voice made me gasp and jump to my feet. As if I had just heard a wild animal stalking me. My knees were bent and my arms were out in mid air I was ready to bolt. I relaxed after a while when I heard nothing again. One word sent me flying, more like fleeing I should say. That single word was my name.
“Ariel?” said my father.
In an instant I felt like the super hero, the flash! I was out of the hall and down the stairs in a blink of an eye. Half tripping over the last stair I slid on my knees feeling the carpet burning at my flesh. But that sting could not stop my desperate attempt to get out of the open. I pushed myself up and – flashed into my room. Quickly locking the door, I turned around slowly and felt the pressure of the door against my back. I slid down the door onto my butt. Breathing heavily I opened my eyes to the insane asylum I was trying to escape when I started my little adventure. Besides the white walls which were now giving me a headache, my black futon was still unfolded in the corner of my room. All of my dresser drawers were open and draping with clothes. I could finally breathe. This room was still untouched. Slowly, I remembered those empty boxes. Slowly I turned my head to my left. I stared at those ugly looking brown things –shoot, Burn, die! I thought. But nothing of the sort happened. I refused to get up to my feet so eventually I crawled over to my dresser. I grabbed everything and anything and stuffed it in those boxes, like stuffing a turkey on Thanksgiving Day. It will all fit! It has to fit! I will not leave anything behind! My mind screamed. Something wet hit my cheek. Confused I wiped at my eyes. I was not crying. I was too focused to think about letting those little devils escape from my eyes. With my hands still pushing at the memories I was trying to force into the box I turned my head to look over my shoulder. Just above me was my father. He was looking at the clothes I was trying to stuff into the box when a single tear betrayed him. I had not spoken to my father since he had told me we were moving. But in that moment when I was looking up into his red eyes that were leaking all over the place I knew he hated himself. He didn’t want to leave this place just as much as I did. So surrendering the fight with my clothes I sat back onto my butt and stared at my hands. Soon they were soaked with the tears that had begun to betray me once again. My father said nothing. He turned me to face him and took me into his arms. We cried together in almost perfect unison. Nothing felt more right in my life then at that moment when I knew my dad felt my pain. He knew my pain and he felt it was his fault. I had blamed him for this change and it broke his heart. With one word my father changed my life forever. His tears stopped falling into my hair when he lifted up my face to look at him and said – endure. The one word gave me hope. He left me alone in my room, either to keep crying and hating the world. Or to embrace this new adventure I was setting out on. Slowly, but still not happily, I got to my feet. I finished packing my room and within an hour my dresser was empty and in the truck. My boxes were stacked with the others and my bed was in the dumpster with my table. My room had now joined the rest of the house with an eerie emptiness. Not one scrap of paper or crumb of food was left. I walked through the home I had been raised in for the last 14 years. With only one thought on my mind – endure. I held my head up high and put on a mask of bravery and happiness. I would not blame a single soul for this. Because there was nothing to blame, this house was once my home. Until my life, my adventure took a new direction.
I walked slowly but bravely out the front door and down the porch. I turned around in the front yard for just long enough to whisper, “goodbye”. The truck was packed and my family was all waiting for me. The passenger door to our silver Hyundai was left open. As I crawled into the seat I decided to only allow one tear to fall for the loss of my home. So as we headed down the street away from my house I looked back once and shed that one tear. Turning around I looked to the future, an adventure outside of this town. Only 5 days, I thought, 5 days until I see this new adventure I was going to endure. Looking out to the open road I only felt one thing. It wasn’t anger, hatred, or fear. It was relief. My life had taken a new direction. One that will change my life forever, at age 17 my life had begun. My heart had not felt this away. It had only clung to the past like a cat hanging to your shirt with its claws. One word pried my heart from the past—endure. Now my heart ached for the future. It desired adventure. It longed for Florida. 

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