“The Numbers” (Emily Buechler)

The luggage was filled to the brim,
Weighing more than the mother’s arms could lift.

I didn’t know what you wanted…so I just brought everything
The last parcel dropped to the ground with a thud.

15 years of my life in one huge bag…bright green and wheels.

An awkward silken filled the space where speech should have been.
They both looked at their feet
Standing outside the stranger’s door.

I’ll be back in two weeks… it’s not that far away.

Yeah… only 14 days.

They embraced and wiped away tears as the warm summer wind whipped through their similar colored, dirty blond hair.
Mixing it as if it was all one.

On every article of clothing, CDs, essential everything, I labeled with a number.
Keep track of all that stuff so we can get it back when the judge returns you to me, ok?

THE NUMBERS WILL RULE YOU THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Ok, mom.

Eat more.  I’ll never get you back if you look like you were just released from a concentration camp.
She called as she jumped into dark green SUV and started the engine.

I’ll try mom.

THE NUMBERS WILL NEVER LET YOU GO.

After the mother left, the girl stood outside in the now mild summer evening.
The crickets were starting to chirp in loud cacophony and bats were swooping in the air as if it all were a game.

She watched from the front steps as the car disappeared from her sight and began its own journey home.
She wiped away a tear and grabbed the handle on the luggage, though even with
Wheels, she could barely drag it.

She started unpacked, noting the synchronized numbers on every article of smashed into the luggage
Clothes, shoes, scarf, underwear, even a picture frame with a picture of her and her mom.
Everything assigned a number.

YOUR LIFE WILL ALWAYS BE WITH THE NUMBERS.

But she couldn’t read them.  Tears blocked her view.

YOU WILL NEVER ESCAPE ME.  STOP YOUR CRYING.

Five days later, she had lost 5 pounds.

NEXT

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