by Fadila Henry
I want to leave but I can’t go.
I wear the load of this life around my neck like a millstone. The heaviness pulls me down and I sink into the ever present quicksand, my muscles weak from countless fights to free myself. Urgency nags at me, shadowing my every move, distorting all the connections I make so I don’t create another reason to stay. For if I am alone I can leave when the moment comes for me. For if you are alone you will remain driven to go, it whispers at my back. I push this feeling away, it’s not as easy as it seems, I shout in reply but I am shouting into the void, my voice echoes back to me, strangled.
At night there is a ghost who packs my bag for me, half-asleep I hear the zip glide closed and when I wake the bag looks up at me, expectant, waiting. I resist every impulse I have to pick it up and just run. Instead, I throw the bag into the darkness at the back of my closet.
I know each crack on my street personally and every streetlight that flickers to life at 6 PM, every inch of gneiss and glass and tangled brambled clump. I see the way the old decrepit houses, drooping from neglect, stand obsequiously next to ornate mansions that ascend and disappear into the clouds. I’ve named every lonesome flower that peeps out at the world from both the smooth and battered concrete and I have watched the sky show off every splendiferous mood it has to offer above this place but nothing has brought me closer to it.
I do not belong here.
The more I push at the feeling the more it pulls me into it. I wake up most nights because I am worried. Will I ever know where I belong? I look into the darkness above, the moon and I stare vacantly into each other’s face. If not this place, if not this suburb in this city in this land then where? I shriek into my mind into myself. But all shouts disappear into the void.
The millstone tugs at my neck – a reminder of the weight of the things I cannot escape: promises, marriage, children, aging parents, work, debt, the relentless flow of bills that keep me securely tied down – the rope cuts into my flesh.
Freedom is the blade I cannot get my hands on yet.
Fadila is a writer and blogger who spends far too much of her time watching Seinfeld reruns. She also is a feminist specialising in defending all Singletons everywhere.