Monday, September 7, 2015

Searching for Warmth

   I could hear each of my inhales shake, and every exhale jump. My hands were clammy and wouldn't keep still. As I rounded the corner, and Collingwood Heights came into my view, my pace picked itself up. As I honed in on the light of the foyer, it felt like the shadows were closing in around me.
   "Ruby Jazz?" A voice behind me leaped out of the darkness. My heart stopped, and fell into my stomach before restarting. I could feel the veins in my neck swell with each of my adrenaline-filled heart's pumps. I turned to see a man who, in every way, reminded me of the old, mean hound dog that used to live on my street growing up.
   "I have some questions for you," He said approaching me with heavy steps.

   In the perceived safety of the well my well lit house, my chest felt tight as if it might burst. I could feel all my suppressed heat condensing into tears in my eyes. I hated that. I tried to swallow, but my mouth was too dry. The detective's eyes and his words left no room mine. I felt trapped and it made my fists ball up. That hadn't happened in years. My teeth ground together. I felt helpless, and I wanted out. He was in my home, leaning on my wall, questioning my words. I just wanted to know what in God's green Earth happened to my goddamn stuff, and this guy was on a crazily different page. 
   "I gotta pee," I said pinching my arm. I walked down the short front hall, but instead of turning into the bathroom, I grabbed my coat and ran back out into the shadows.

   Outside again. Driven out of my own house again. I was honestly numb. All my emotions were squeezed out of me for the night, and I was just looking for something warm. Next door, I watched a woman I recognized from Collingwood trying to light a cigarette. She was fumbling with a lighter. She was drunk, and couldn't keep the flame lit in the wind. Her breathing was fast, and her fingers shook. I walked up to her, the neon bar lights from Hot Legs illuminating the sidewalk.
   "Need help, kid?"
   She looked up at me with frustrated, sad eyes. Like a child who had just stubbed their toe. She nodded and handed me the lighter. She smelled like whiskey, and I couldn't help but sadly project my own fate onto her. The maternal instinct I had never needed to tap into pinged around in my chest. I lit her cigarette and one of my own. I stood with her in the dark silence.
    Her breathing slowed down after a while, and she looked at me, I think realizing that I was there for the first time. She pointed a lazy finger at the sky.
   "There's a lunar eclipse, ya know." She slurred to me. I followed her finger up and looked to where she was directing me. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The moon was filled with fire. It was glowing orange, and it warmed me to my core.
I turned to look back at the drunken woman with the childlike eyes. She looked goofily happy. I laughed and looked back up at the moon.