The Long Dirt Road

 

It is the breaking of walls. It is the bleeding of knees. It is a notion that dwells deep and burst forth through your lips like vomit emptying all of your inside contents. It is the decision not to return to that vomit. It is freedom.

She walks with a limp that marks her as a former slave. She still has a scar where the shackle used to be on her right ankle.  Her hair is still matted from years of neglect and her back still bruised from abuse.

Limping, she walks through dirt roads that go on forever. Slightly bent and aged more by life than years, she walks for miles in a state no one would dare travel. Most people also would not have survived the horrors she did so maybe she has a resilience unlike most.

Resilience isn’t a thing that grows overnight. It lies dormant in all of us until it’s needed. Then it boils in our bellies for days, weeks, months, sometimes years, until it rises to the surface. Yes, as a former slave the only thing she owns is her resilience and the twenty cents in her ragged pocket.

She travels the long dirt road pressing forward as if she’s in a race and she can see the finish line ahead. She walks past tumble weeds and old stables. Her bare feet crush the pebbles and dust beneath her. She is walking slowly, yet on the inside she is fighting for the finish.

She gets to the end of that old dirt road where there is a child holding a bucket and a sign that reads: spare change please. The woman takes her withered hands reaches in the ragged pocket of her old burlap sack dress. She pulls out two nickels and a dime. She drops it in the bucket with sheer determination and unbridled focus as if she was handing over more than spare change. And she was. The change was not spare at all. As a matter of fact, she gave the child everything she had.

Then she looks the child in the eyes and rests one of her tired hands on the child’s shoulder, never speaking a word. She places her other hand on the child’s belly and she could feel it getting hot, as if, there was something was beginning to boil on the inside.

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