Since the storm I have taken up a hobby of leaving the window open a crack during the night, either to listen to the rain or the wind coming off of the lake
I no longer reach for my phone with the crash of thunder
But I have left
Now that it is September I have let my hair grow long because I liked it better that way and I have taken the blue v-neck out of retirement
I am happy that I left
"You will fail," I was told
There is no intention of failing this year
Now that it is September I have turned red
My hair tangles too easily in the wind, but that's what happens when it gets long
There is a stranger leaning out of 1202's balcony tonight. Luckily being twelve floors above the city gives you the best view of the stars. The fog. And the moon. La lune. I force the balcony door open as far as it will go and lean against the railing, not afraid that my feet will slip between the metal bar and the track that the door follows. It is windier up here. I will have to brush my hair when I go back inside.
"Are you happy that you are here?" the stranger asks me.
I nod, though it is too dark to tell what either of us are doing. "No one is holding me down here. It has been three weeks, but I am almost free."
"Freedom must be nice."
"I am not free yet. I won't be free until I do everything that I couldn't do before."
The wind whips my hair in the wind. So precise that it could twirl itself into a tangled bun. Now that it is September and now that it is cooler I have taken out a thicker cardigan to wear at night. I glance down at the street directly below. Three cars and the last city bus on the late night loop. It has to be two in the morning.
"You will not know you are free until the moment that you truly are," the stranger adds.
"Visiting a friend next door?"
"What brings you by?"
"There is quite the view on this side of the building."
Only the smokestacks are an eyesore. I have left the blinds open since I have arrived. I mull over the comment. "It is something. It is better on the other side."
"What did you leave behind?"
"A lot of problems. I am happy that I left. I was being held down. I wasn't free to be who I wanted to be."
There is a stranger leaning out of 1202's balcony tonight. I have yet to acquaint myself with all one hundred and twenty thousand people here. My calves still ache from the walk home. Carrying groceries three blocks. I regret buying so many cartons of peach juice. The blisters on my index and middle fingers were going to turn into callouses soon.
"You aren't being held down anymore," the stranger continues. "It's pretty hard to be held down when you live on the twelfth floor."
Now that it is September I smile more often and look more awake in the morning. I wake up with the sun because I leave my blinds open and I've pushed my bed against the wall that the only window is on. Now that I live on the twelfth floor rather than the second I perch myself on the windowsill and watch the clouds move while sipping on peach juice.
I break a small smile. "I guess the only way to go now is up."
"I like your shirt. Is it blue?"
The wind changes directions, bringing my hair with it. Now that I am here I am happy. Now that I am happy, I will be free soon. I am about to do what I couldn't do before.
You will not control me anymore.
You will fail.
There is no intention of failing this year.
My hair is tangled, but that's what happens when it gets long.