The greatest thing would be to know how to not run away.

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written by EMILY MARUCCI

I am right in the middle of everything — my mom’s to my right, my friend’s to my left, the stranger on the subway’s breath is down my neck, our cats lay by the fire a few feet away, the snow is surrounding the house and building snow castles around each edge of grass. I am writing from my bed with grey speckled socks that I have worn for two days now, a couple of tears have dropped on them and they sponged them up quickly and hid all the evidence.

The journey home, is a swift one. I wake up and I pack a concealer that I smudge just below my eye to cover the redness that the night has brought. I don’t even pack a change of clothes, just a scully to hide in. I drive, only a fragment of myself is holding on, the music picks me up and I look out of the nearest window. My favorite part of the drive is the long weeds that cover a couple acres mashed between an industrial road. It’s pretty, really. The contrast of it all. Sometimes I can see the contrast of how I am feeling from the drive the week before.

The vastness of everything around me, always, makes me feel so super small that I haven’t seemed to gather my thoughts or feel like myself for a little while now. I have completely stopped writing poetry at this point — a much sweeter escape than running away.

I do belong here though, at least it feels that way. I am just all flaws and rough around the edges, but it’s just fine. There’s homemade food and just the right amount of wine as I sit across from my mom and dad who look at me with admiration. There is an understanding between us that I haven’t experienced with many people. Even still, I think, I do belong in both places, Brooklyn and where I have run away to, or at least I hope so. Still I muddle through hot baths, and food  made from scratch. There’s a melody of soft stringed music playing in the background. I visit my nephew who is the most beautiful human being on the earth. Dimples and all, flawless, he follows his mothers voice around the room. How early we feel loved. He reaches for me and I read my favorite children’s book to him. I go home and put my leggings on from 2001 that have holes in them, where I rub my fingers into the sides, when I get nervous. I slip into the sheets like I remember I did when I was a child and I listen to the whatever noises are making a soundtrack for me outside.

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I ran away because the night before was quite ugly. Things were said and done. Things are changing, it seems. I am totally outside myself in these moments of running. I easily escape all of the problems that are sitting in the pit of my being. When I really think about it, I realize for like 6 months I’ve been having this thought, a few times a day. It’s not really a thought actually, it’s a vivid image. Of me running through the woods. I’m not actually in my body but I’m looking at myself, following myself from the back and I’m wearing a long sundress and I’m barefoot, it’s summer and the sun is weaving in and out of the trees as I do the same. And I’m running from something, but for some reason it feels good. I make myself think about it sometimes when I’m feeling like I can’t take a breath, and it brings me back down. The thought is of both ecstasy and agony, wild with color and humanity. Sorting it out is a hard trick, even when the answer seems to be written in the imagery. It’s a strange thing that feels ridiculous to consider anywhere more public than my own mind, really, this whole idea of running away.

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In the midst of my escape, I always imagine myself a few years ago. A lonely girl galavanting around Brooklyn losing my way and eating fries at the Lorimer diner, not knowing street names and pretending I knew how to navigate the subways. I’m thinking of a thousand memories and hand holding. The sound my ceiling fan made in my old apartment. The thousands of ways we slept. All the glasses I’ve cheered with other people. Just seeing someone on the streets and knowing the person. The person I saw crying on the L train. The many cigarettes my friends have dropped on the streets, the things we’ve shared over too many glasses of wine in my apartment. The record player never plays correctly. It takes a little bit to figure out. The vivid thought and a film stock of images of the past keep me at a steady rate of uneasiness. It’s really always about change with me isn’t it.  There has to be a better way.

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