We stand at the hood of the blue Toyota Echo with the cardboard box filled windows, and its sagging hatchback. Just the two of us in the quiet of the morning, too excited to be nervous. Itching to get going, but not yet wanting to leave. There are too many goodbyes to give, but we cannot wait for everything to be in the rear-view mirror. Never to see Mom’s house again, never to see the garden behind Dad’s again, never to see that goddamn smelly fishing pond again. No, our future is filled now with sparkling saltwater and unfamiliar streets.

* * *

Eight years ago, my sister and I sat in the basement with our feet on the wall. Any other day, this would be an illegal action punishable by many awful chores. But today, no one was around to scold. It was only us – four feet, twenty toes – and the lingering smell of Mr. Clean. The windows were closed, the blinds removed, and the cold painted cement clutched to our spines, holding us. I can remember how heavy my body felt in the quiet of the room. We lay there for hours, what seemed like hours, as the upstairs was scraped like a fish’s belly. The last of the basement memories seeping away, pulled away, never to be seen again.


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