There I was, just standing there, when what I wanted to do was forbidden. I wanted to make a run for it, jump over the line that held me inside the house. I wanted to taste the fresh air without the mixture of asbestos and dust infiltrating my senses. But, even if the thought of leaving the house was all that kept me alive and going most days, I knew my band forbid it.
What was really the worst that could happen, if I crossed the threshold of the front door and stepped out on that concrete stoop? It’s not as if I would explode, it’s not as if I would be shot. At the worst, another year would be added to my sentence. At the best, the band would be malfunctioning right at that exact moment, and I would never even show up on my parole officer’s screen.
“There you go, making up lies again.” That’s what they told me. They whispered in my ears in the darkest of hours of the night, they told me that the electricity flowing from the power lines underground, was not always functioning. They told me at times the band could no more produce a tiny blip of light, let alone send a message clear across the city to my officer.
They could not be lies, the voices knew. My father always said when in doubt listen to those who talk late at night, because they are the only ones left who tell the truth. They are the only ones left who do not have ulterior motives. I rubbed my wrist where the band lay, seemingly dormant, digging into my skin. There were no lights on the small black band now.
Maybe my parole officer forgot. Maybe she no longer had her computer lit up in my name. Maybe, I was it. Maybe I was the one bill my parole officer forgot to pay. Maybe it would be me, forgotten about. A computer no longer showing my whereabouts at all times because she had forgotten me. Maybe that was why the lights did not show – not because of a malfunction, or that an angel was on my side. Maybe they did not light up because she hoped I would be too scared to step out into the world. Frightened into submission by the idea that my band still worked.
After all, I had not even seen the officer in weeks. I took a deep breath, and crossed the threshold.
I wrote this from a writing exercise in the kit: The Writer’s Toolbox