by Peter LaBerge

After a while, I got used it. I think the shrill wind’s kicking at my dusty, bloody ankles is the most painful part. I guess you could call it trading one set of parents in for another- the amorous couple in Cadmonic, then the old rickety woman on Lincoln Avenue, and now the newspaper salesman with the clouded cheeks and constantly stuffy nose. The first time, I had to sit for a couple hours at the train tracks across the street from Henry’s Barber Shop. The same boring Broadway and Poland Springs ads keep me company, as I wait to restart my life again and again, each time with a renewed hope echoing in 3.0 circular motions. I recite the words printed below the stoic mountains on the water bottle ad for enjoyment, sometimes even in exotic European accents. Eyes of various colors and shapes pierce into my body as I board the dingy Metro North local bound for Ansonia. I feel the set of needles the nurse at the public health clinic used to give vaccines last month re-puncture my delicate skin as my nerves twist my stomach around like dancing shapes on a chalkboard. Maybe food will help, I think, and I start nibbling away anxiously at the pack of 100 Calorie Oreos that the foster woman put in the CVS bag I always got full of things that are supposed to act as entertainment. The loudspeaker’s rusty voice croaks Ansonia Station and I collect my few belongings. On my way off the train, I hear a little kid lean over to his mother and say, Mommy, why does she look so miserable? I wipe away the tears clinging to my face before the blur of my new family’s car lights get a peek.

Peter LaBerge is currently a sixteen-year-old high school student. His writing and photography are forthcoming or featured in a handful of publications, including Reflections and This Great Society (respectively). When Peter isn’t writing, you can probably find him composing or playing piano music, singing in his a cappella group, practicing his improvisational comedy, or frantically studying.

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