I can’t tell you who I am because I don’t think you’d understand.

I don’t know who I am. So, I can’t tell you that. It’s gotten so that I don’t remember anymore. I used to wake up screaming in the middle of the night. Remembering things I’d spent a life time running from. Before tonight it was always the same thing, something from the trees or something from a mark. Tonight was different. The nightmare tonight ran deeper than that. I can’t tell you about it. I can’t tell you who I was because I don’t think you’d understand. I can, however, tell you the moment a boy went from eating out of dumpsters and making his own rules to becoming a man. I remember what time it was 0449. That’s when I left home. I remember crossing the high ground and my eyes drifting out over the river to the sleepy little town I called home. No one was awake, no sirens to signal that I was finally leaving. I remember looking down on that town and thinking “I’ll never see you again.” As I came off the bridge and made that right I remember exactly how it felt. Windows down, radio on. I remember the way the air felt, cool and fresh with the promise of a storm. I remember the feeling I got when I turned left at the red light instead of right. Right could have taken me to the graveyard, to the home you made before you left us to figure it out. I remember exactly what song was playing. I can tell you what I was wearing. As I sped down the streets towards downtown, I can remember how many red lights I ran. I drifted through the city and I remember the feeling that swept through my body when I stopped the car and got out. It was balm, it was peaceful, and I long for that feeling with all of my being. Kneeling down in that gutter I can tell you the kind of filth that surrounded me. I was going to die there amidst the broken beer bottles and discarded cigarette butts. The moment I felt that gun barrel hit my tongue was the moment I changed. The man who saved my life. I’ll always remember his name. That detail, like the ones before it, are not important. I remember pulling myself from that gutter, the way my back screamed in pain when it hit the door to that office. I’m going to stop there for now. I left that building with a direction, finally a purpose.

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