“Come on,” said Johanna, pulling my hand. She wanted to get me out of the house, away from Lily and Anna, and she correctly guessed that I would let her take me. I rarely let anyone lead me, decide where I’ll go and when, and in particular I rarely let anyone lead me away from my house. It’s dangerous. If the wrong person saw me, or if I stayed away too long, it could be the end of my many days.
We walked down the street, saying little. The streetlamps were too bright for my taste; I preferred the lamps in Johanna’s part of town, yellow and dim instead of white and gleaming. The light made me uneasy.
There was a park behind a wrought iron gate. Johanna pushed me towards the padlock, and put her arms around me from behind. “I’ll cover you,” she said. I broke the lock, and we stole through the gate. It creaked as I closed it behind us, and I wondered whether the residents across the street—vigilant seniors, likely—had seen us pass.
Inside the park, you would have thought it was raining if you didn’t recognize the seasonal sound of dry seeds and husks raining down from the trees. The patter of husks was loudest in the center of the park, where a concrete apron surrounded a 19th-century pavilion. It was there that I lay Johanna down and pushed hard into her, praying a broken husk wouldn’t cut her and draw blood.
My days have not ended, and right now, Johanna is the only reason I don’t want them to.
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