Scars & Souvenirs

prologue

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The sun is barely breaching the horizon by the time she starts up the truck, the roar of the engine breaking the quiet of the dawn. The air outside the cab is hot for so early, heavy with condensation as a storm rolls in. Thick humidity has left her cheeks ruddy and spine sweat-soaked in the ten minutes it took for her to make sure the house is devoid of her belongings.

She stares through the window at the little house that wasn’t home for the past seven months. A humble two-bedroom dwelling that barely spans seven hundred square feet, it wasn’t much. It hadn’t been hers. Not really. The faded eggshell-blue paint and faded yellow shutters gives the house more comfort and cheer than she ever found within the walls. It was never meant to be hers.

Even tending to the diminutive garden below the front window hadn’t given her ownership. Now the garden is full of dying flowers, and long-stemmed weeds stretch from dry, cracking soil to loom over the windowsill. The stickers on the plain white door began peeling months ago. The 5713 is hardly visible from the road now.

Pale golden light streams from the thin space between the neighbour’s curtains. She idly wonders about the lives of the married couple before shaking off the thoughts. It is none of her business, and it certainly isn’t important now.

With a sigh, she puts the truck in drive and pulls out onto the street. Her eyes drift to the rear-view mirror, watches as the house slips further away. Further into the remains of history where it will remain, just like everything else she has ever had.

The few other cars on the roads give the UHaul a wide berth as she merges onto the highway heading west. She keeps the radio playing and ignores the burning in her eyes, shoving her sunglasses onto her face when the tears break free. The cost of her freedom is almost too high, but the pain of her past is worse.

It is something she can’t afford to ever forget. Not even for a second.