Extreme Writing Challenge #44: “Safe Place”

A lot of my friends are really into the whole “Throwback Thursday” thing.  I’ve never made my own TBT post, but I do enjoy seeing 20-year-old pictures that confirm my friends were all as nerdy as I was growing up.  (Sorry guys, we might as well just be honest here.)

While I could share one of my many embarrassing pictures o’ the past, I thought I’d mix things up and do a TBT: Poetry Edition.  Below is a poem I wrote for my grandparents when I was ten years old.  Prepare to have your MINDS BLOWN.

THE ANTS THAT CAME TO TOWN!

THE ANTS THAT CAME TO TOWN!

Okay, really…I think my writing skills have improved over the years.  Which leads me to my latest story.  I’ll let you in on the secret challenge at the end!

__________

Abigail, what are you doing here? Everyone is staring at you. Even your mom, she looks puzzled by your presence. After you went missing, she was certain she’d never again see your face.

“Abbie?” your mother whispers as her rosy cheeks fade into a ghostly white. It’s not too late for you to turn and run back to your safe place. Eddie will be waiting there. All you have to do is turn your back and pretend you were never here.

“Abbie?” she repeats, and you know what you should do. A set of trembling arms wraps around you. “I can’t believe you’re standing here in front of me.”

Abigail, remember that day you ran away last June? As you’d waited at mile marker 219 for Eddie to arrive, you promised yourself you’d never come home. It was a long time coming, confirmed by your stepdad’s last blow to your knee. Eddie pulled up with a dozen roses and a cooler full of ice. All you had brought along was a set of pajamas, a photo of your sister Trinity, and a Garth Brooks cassette. Every mile, you turned around to make sure no one was following you. Until you awoke in the gravel driveway of Eddie’s cabin six hours later, you weren’t ready to celebrate.

A year later, you’re back because you saw on the news that your stepdad was nabbed by the DEA. Eddie tried to come, but you wanted to do it alone. As your mom releases you from her unbelieving embrace, your eyes flit up to the only lit window in the house.

“Is Trinity in there?” you inquire. It hurts your mother, your disregard for her, but she’s not the reason you’re here.

“Oh,” your mom mutters, “oh, yes, she just sat down with a cup of tea.”

It’s almost too much to bear, the thought of admitting to Trinity you shouldn’t have left her here. Inside, you find her curled up under a thin quilt, reading a book about Leonardo da Vinci.

“Are you serious?” she cries as you approach the sofa.

“I had to be sure you were still safe.” Around you are the remnants of your old life. Every framed photo, piece of furniture, and ceramic animal figurine is in its usual place. It’s a reminder that although you escaped, this world did not dissolve in your absence.

“I’m so sorry,” you whisper, unable to look her in the eye. “I understand if you never forgive me.”

“I suppose you know about Lou?”

“Of course.”

“Are you staying here?”

“Abigail?” cuts in a timid voice. It’s your mother, offering a plea for attention by holding out your cat, Sprite. “Abigail, what are you doing here?”

I asked myself that same thing, you muse.

It’s time to go. It wasn’t supposed to end this fast, but this is no longer your home. Even your mom is puzzled by your presence.

“I love you,” you say to Trinity, her face hardened as if it were made of stone. After a year of hiding out in the safe place, you’re certain you will never thrive here.

__________

The challenge was:  Every sentence begins and ends with a vowel.

Happy Almost-Friday!

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