There are still days that I wake up and for a split second, expect to be back there, on a bare mattress on the floor in a two-room house with no air conditioning and a window I can’t leave open for fear that someone will get inside without an invitation, with my head pounding and sweat soaking my shirt, so far from the last thing I called “home” I don’t even know why I still use the name my parents gave me, and for that split second, it all swells back up in me, that pain, that immense unbearable loneliness, and when it recedes and I realize where I am, and how I got there, it feels like it did that day that I woke up and realized it was time for me to clean up and go back to make things right. I wake up and die for a split second and then one more second, I am alive again. I don’t even know what to call that second feeling. All I know is that it makes me acutely aware of my heart pounding. It makes every nerve in my body feel electric and raw.

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