Sometimes I feel like a runaway. Like I'm still my mother's fellow inmate in the house of perpetual sorrow. I wear the clothes she ordains as appropriate, plaid skirts down to the ankle, culottes bought in the old lady's section of the department store, dresses with fussy lace collars. I wait for her breath as she picks up the phone to listen to my conversations with friends. I can't go anywhere without her kicking up a fuss. I can't have friends over without her giving them the cold shoulder. I listen for hours as she tells me of the future she was denied when she married my father.
Twenty-four years later, I'm still that girl, waiting for freedom, not knowing what liberation looks like, only that it must look like something other than this. When I left my mother's house for good, it was not an act of rebellion, more an act of evasion, a removal of my person and being by stealth. Had I openly revolted, perhaps I wouldn't feel this intermittent guilt and shame.