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a peaceful protest

I was 16, and the thought of being forced to mention God as part of the pledge of allegiance was too hypocritical an act for me to play along with. Each day of high school began with this mundane recitation, as most people just stood with their hand jutting from a hip, the other dangling across their chest as they counted out the seconds until they could sit back down. They leaned against desks, and talked through it about what party and where it would be, if there would be a keg or a bonfire in the woods. I recited the words, omitting the "under God" part as a sort of half-baked protest. I was raised to flaunt my family's ramshackle atheism, as a choice of smug pride. We knew better, was the prevailing logic.

But one day, I could not stand and say any of it. It felt so rote, so hollow, so devoid of choice. There was no law that said I was required to say it. I knew this was my right, a form of free speech. My homeroom teacher was a legendary drinker, a trash-talking re…

straight up


I really hurt myself a week ago, falling on some ice. During the January holidays, none of the doctors are working so unless you've got a gunshot wound you go to the pharmacy and hope someone there can give you something to tide you over. I ended up breaking glass ampules open, my fingertips bleeding, somehow filling needles and injecting myself in the ass as I tried to see what the hell I was doing in the bathroom mirror. It was a strange number of days, playing with E and laying on my stomach as we played go fish, dominoes, checkers and drew countless pictures of fairies and girls in pretty dresses.

What I learned is this - by walking between two and four miles a day I have overdeveloped muscles in my legs, leaving others weak. I lean forward when I walk - pushing towards the future. When I was five and we left Brooklyn to raise pigs in a little town with one traffic light, I walked the halls of that elementary school like my pants were on fire. I was a New Yorker, through and through - rushing towards the lunch line, the school bus, the bathroom.

So now, the New Year has already forced me to walk differently - straight up, as if I'm trying to push the sky a little higher.

It feels good.


Comments

The Expatresse said…
Poor you! Ouch. It has been dangerously slippery out. I brought back some YaxTrax in September, but have not yet tried them.

Now that The Spouse is on blood thinners, I am especially nervous that he might fall and bruise himself. Since he generally falls at least once every winter. We all do.
brenda said…
LOVE that, pushing towards the future. I walk the same way except for me, it feels more like clawing my way through heavy headwinds. Also love the end....walking straight. Happy happier New Year, M/ You've got it coming.

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