The world is cruel. That might be the only truth my mother ever told me.

Every day, basically a tradition, she delighted in reminding me that had she a steadier hand my brains would have been scrambled on the end of a coat hanger.

“You have no right standing there, breathin’ the same air as me.”

That was her favorite saying.

I guess she told me two truths.

I woke up today to the sound of screeching rails, the smell of cheap tobacco, and a hunger so fierce I could barely stand. The sun’s glare bit at my eyes through the tattered blinds that have been fighting a losing battle with time since before I started at Madison.

I lay there with eyes affixed to the ceiling debating, as I do every morning, whether or not it was worth getting up that day. And, as always, I reluctantly come to the conclusion that it was, albeit by a minute margin, best that I bite the bullet and take the day head on.

Strange as it might seem, I still hold hope that my efforts aren’t futile.

And, look at all the good it’s done me.

After fighting free of my tangled blankets I shuffled to my closet, careful to avoid the splintered boards that made up the majority of my floor. I keep forgetting to do something about them, but honestly, they won’t be my problem after this week. My mom, assuming against all rational thought that she cares, can take care of it when I’m gone.

My wardrobe is rather bare by most people’s standards: three shirts, one coat, and two pairs of pants. And, of course, my trusty pair of River Islands. I found them for fifteen bucks three years ago down at Karen’s Thrift. Nicest pair of shoes I’ve owned. I suppose that’s not saying much considering they’re the only pair that’s ever fit and didn’t have holes.

The burgundy jumper and black jeans are what I decide on after about thirty seconds of careful deliberation. With socks and boxers in hand and clothes slung over my shoulder, I make the long trek for the bathroom.

I hope she doesn’t have much to say this morning. Even though I’m so close, I don’t know how much more I can take.

If all goes well, this will be the last day I spend in this place.


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