A Place

Rachel Johannigmeier


Once she fell down on the spot, it was decided that she never wanted to get up again.  It was the only place that wanted her, and she should be grateful for that.  She acted grateful, at least, because no one wants to be rude to a place that welcomes others. 


The decision happened on a Tuesday, after a particularly explosive argument with the man at the store.  He was an awful person, bad man, he had an unpleasant green/black spot on his teeth that seemed to grow as he yelled at her with the fury only a righteous customer could create.  She had punched the spot away.


The way she saw it, her reaction meant she was never returning to that place, and she could not really say she was sorry about it.


It had been years, maybe twelve years, since that incident, and the ground above her withered away while the ground beneath her began to become a part of her.  It embraced her in a way that the family she abandoned had stopped doing so long ago.


Her boss finally let her go.  She was a good for nothing with no prospects, and this was the perfect opportunity to cut all ties with her.  She was a drifter who was lucky to have a job, and then luck ran out.  He told her this, and then the green/black spot returned and consumed him and the rest of the room.  All of her existence.


She had told him no 12 times.  12 months in a year.  She had been hurt too many times, and he was not used to rejection.


At least now she could smile about the situation.  Her lips had faded away, and her teeth had found a way to present themselves to the world.  A world it would never really see because she was no longer a wanderer.


It was a relief to settle down, she told herself.  She had hated her job, and she had hated her crappy apartment with all its bugs and drunk, lecherous neighbors.  She did not have to hope for a change ever again because she had a place. 


Her boss had helped her find the place, after he let her go.  He knew she would be welcomed into the damp coolness of her surroundings.  She had tried, and would continue to try appreciating all he had done for her.


She could not help but wonder if this was the new change she had wanted.  A change had come, but it was permanent, like taxes.  Nothing felt familiar, even after all that time in that place.


No shifting of location could change her situation, and water soaked into the ground where she had fallen.  Water cooled the face, the face that no longer looked like her own. 


She would never leave this place.


Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240