Word Count: 430
When you are seven you make plans to run away to Neverland. Your bag is packed, hiding under your bed with your piggy bank and all that’s left is to wait until the family is suitably distracted for you to escape. It’s not that they’ve been bad to you, quite the contrary in fact, and it’s not that you want to escape them so much as you want to sate this strange catch in your chest every time you breath.
But then your father comes home and announces he’s been laid off, your little brother gets sick and something shifts in your mother. She’s still her, but like someone took her soul and dialed it down about twelve degrees. There’s a roundness to her shoulders that wasn’t there yesterday, new lines near her eyes that you’ve never noticed before. So you sigh and forget about your piggy bank and Neverland and all the adventures you were made for.
It’s the first time you compromise your dreams.
You are fifteen and saving up to move to Seattle when you graduate. It’s still a couple of years away but you want to be prepared. When people ask why you cite the great music scene, the colleges and the view of the Pacific and it’s only a mostly truth.
The initial appeal being as far from here as possible.
You are sixteen when you fall in love for the first time with a pair of blue eyes and sharp smile and hand warm on your thigh. You think that maybe, everything you wanted was here all along and begin to forget Seattle.
(You are eighteen and your heart is broken and you think, if this is love than they can keep it.)
You are twenty and alive but not living. You drift through your days at a dead end job and fall asleep at night with the help of a prescription. You still ache in your heart, still dream of Seattle and Ontario and London and anywhere that’s not here, all the places with air your lungs have never breathed. But your mother is ill and fading and your father works long hours and they need you, so you swallow the ache again and again and keep on with your existence.
You are twenty five and feel like you’re drowning but it’s too late, isn’t it? Too late to leave this place, the tethers are too tight and you wouldn’t know how.
You are twenty seven and you are too tired to fight the currents dragging you under every day. So you don’t.