I have to get out of this city, she says,
threading her new dyed red hair through her fingers.
What is it, I ask
My family, she says, my school, just everything.
It’s like I can’t spend another minute in this city.
Her eyes well up for a second.
I hear the words fall from her mouth,
the way they fell from mine all those years ago,
when I was clawing my way out of my own skin,
sick like a caged animal.
She rolls her eyes and looks around the room.
I watch her.
Where do you want to go, I ask.
Chicago, she says.
Because they have museums there.
I laugh. I tell her New York has museums
She tilts her head to the side, frustrated
that I could be so stupid,
that I could not understand
that even Brooklyn is tiny
when you have walked these avenues and streets
until you were numb
the way I walked the narrow paths
of my small town.
The way I drove in circles
from the lake to the diner,
back to the lake back to the diner,
never leaving but always moving
wearing a thin worn path
through the meat of me.
I want to tell her
that one day this moment,
this miserable high school life,
will seem so long ago.
It will be a like a dream she had and forgot.
This moment when she was trapped
before she left for Chicago
or San Diego
or anywhere that will just let her breathe.
But that’s a lie. She’ll never forget
the way I never forgot how to scream without sound
what it is to be trapped
will one day save her.