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Take Me to Your Gravel World photo

The trifecta of bug bites on my midriff are the marks of a long summer in sticky places. They frame my stomach like a Seurat painting. A juxtaposition between their trinity and my belly button. On the eve of fall, I could only think back. The colors of my future meant nothing to me, as meaningless as an ace bandage on a child. Summers were my only pasts, the only places I found moments worthy of deep remembrance. Now, these catalogs of time were coming to an end. A new scroll must be unraveled and taped down like some sort of makeshift set. I wasn’t ready for the camera to start, and it most definitely would not be me calling action.

All of these changes in my life were made without my consent. No hand holding, only dragged progression. Tight leather leashes like the ones my grandpa uses on his german short-haired pointers in Indiana were tied around my wrists, leaving my will far from free and my eyes often turned downward. Because of this 20th century strategy, I became accustomed to looking only and always at the ground. Although my neck had developed a large warping my spine now round like a mole-hole, I acquired a unique affinity for variations of paving. Depending on the location of the dragging, I was able to identify them due to the numerous ground covers they had in store. My favorite was gravel, for I knew that something spotty was soon to enter my future. The most recent time my eyes were greeted with the soft stones was this Summer, when I forcibly entered my own life and then soonly left, only to be somehow launched at my leg a minute later.

Whenever I encountered the mythical rock, I tried to avoid angering it. I would gently step on its first layer, anxiously avoiding the wet mix of sand and dirt hiding underneath. One day, I was too rushed. My shoes weren’t fully on, I was stepping down on their heels and my feet were wobbling to the sides as I walked. I was desperately late for my bus, which never had the empathy to wait for me. As I hobbled to its station, my braids falling apart and glasses losing their grip on my head, my foot slipped. As soon as I was walking I was falling. I inched towards the gravel, which was somehow coating the sidewalk outside my home. When I fell I expected to hit its blanket of stone, but I found myself falling into it. As I looked around, I saw all its rocks, forming shapes around my body. They were picking me up, an inch from my skin, and I was floating in their rock world. My neck suddenly broke, a crack that echoed through the deep crevasses of their gravel abyss. Like I was a nut inside its shell, I cracked. Inch by inch my bones loosed, their hearts beat and they screamed with release. A pain that had surfaced me dissipated. The gravel was watching me, I lay floating in their cave, and I saw each of their eyes, staring at me, as if they had granted me a sort of freedom. I began to stretch my new body. I realized I was struggling to breathe, as if their home was not on earth, but in space and the lack of oxygen had got to my head. When I took my first breath, I was sitting on the yellow bench of my bus stop as the bus slowly approached. I realized I was no longer looking at the ground, of which was not gravel but cement, I was looking up at the sky.