• Mathura Hawley

room

Updated: Aug 1, 2021


I am the only one who knows what is happening to me. Why a little boy who was taught to be kind to the man next door now cries at school and can’t sleep one night all the way through. "

The stairs are dirty and become steep and long on the way up, and the man is behind me and just across the basement near the swing and he has told me to go, so I run but my legs become heavy, and the air is thick, and the distance to the door stretches away as I reach for the round copper knob. Pull. And the air rushes in as I rush out, and the heavy door with no hinge swings shut behind me with a boom. I am across the driveway and through the gate and into the comforting smell of my own house and up the stairs and into the bathroom where I splash water on my face and arms and hands and then make one more dash across the short hallway into my room where I slam the cheap wood door and lock it, pushing my desk chair under the knob. I turn on my stereo and put the needle down over The Carpenters or my Joan Baez album. I can barely hear the music over the wheezing of air in and out of my lungs, and can’t seem to catch my breath no matter how long I sit on the edge of my bed. I am the only one who knows what is happening to me. Why a little boy who was taught to be kind to the man next door now cries at school and can’t sleep one night all the way through. Why he doesn’t trust the touch or smile of anyone, anymore. Why being alone will always be the easiest, most painful place to be. And later, in those very rare times when he accepts love, and he doesn’t feel alone, life becomes a beautiful and safe place that holds him tightly and frees him to feel like the normal kid that he thought he could never be. How could he explain to anyone how it feels when it goes away, when the air gets thick with fear, and no one comes, and the music can’t be loud enough, and the door closes and locks, and he sits by himself, once again, alone on the edge of his bed.


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