Before I Wake Up

by marlescharles

Grab the bag,
the one with the twelve newly-ironed shirts in it,
seven pairs of trousers, pants, and three pairs of shoes.
Put the things you removed from it this morning back into it.
Even if it doesn’t seem important,
it is.
Put your shoes on, then your jacket. You are leaving this basement.
It’s cold down here and you don’t want to be cold.
It’s cold out there, too, but remember:
it’s only temporary.
Once you start moving, you’ll get warmer.
Tell yourself that,
believe it. She does.
Now, leave the room, close the door behind you.
Have a final look around the basement:
the painting on the wall,
the one with the roses on it, you would’ve never chosen that for yourself;
and the old pieces of furniture
that smell nothing like home, and feel nothing like home.
Admit that you don’t prefer this place at all.
Admit that time won’t change that,
then fasten your hand around the strap of the bag
and place it over your shoulder,
it’s yours to carry, but you’re allowed to make it easier on yourself.
You’re not the villain yet,
and ‘I’m sorry’ will get you far.
She will tell you so, too,
just give her time.
Take a deep breath and get it over with:
walk to the basement door and unlock it,
walk through it and don’t look back,
and don’t worry, you’re leaving nothing behind
apart from a life you won’t want anyway.
Hear that door close behind you and admit that that’s true.
Walk up the steps to the backyard.
Look at it one last time if you still need reminding
that this is not the garden you want, more roses.
Then walk away, you know where to.
Three turns and you’ll regain everything you lost.