We're tripping out of the house and down the stairs, the only sounds filling the suburban night sky are that of our laughter and our sneakers on concrete. We're running somewhere, she's grabbed my hand and she's showing me the way. I'm aware of the cold and I can see my breath in the air, but it doesn't matter. We're going somewhere.
We get there. It's this park and we end up lying on our backs on a basketball court, where little white kids pretend to be Michael Jordan. I get this creepy sense of deja vu. Haven't I been here before? But no, that was a different place, different time, different girl. Something was the same. I can't think of what it is.
We're holding hands, me and this girl, and it's quiet and nice. We're looking up at the stars and they're smiling down at us. I want to freeze this moment in time and just stay here for a while. But the moment passes and I get to feeling all cold and shivery and empty.
I pull her closer to me, and she whispers something to me. At least, I think she did. I can't be sure, but I think she asked me, "How'd you get to be so broken?" I don't know how to answer her, so I don't and I look up at the stars and try to forget, but the words linger in the air and I can't get rid of them, and she's looking at me with these intense green eyes and waiting for me to say something.
So I start talking. I tell her about the system, about war and poverty, about patriarchy, about what it feels like to have somebody close their fingers around your neck, that terrifying sensation that you can't breathe, and the thought that maybe you'll die. She listens and nods like I'm making sense, even though I know I'm not because I don't usually, especially when I'm like this.
I'm still shivering, but her arms are tight around me and she's warm. And suddenly I feel terrible for her, stuck outside in the winter in the middle of the night, lying on concrete, with some crazy boy talking all kinds of nonsense. I know she deserves better. She doesn't deserve somebody broken like me.