Original Prose Poem | Blue Stripes by Aimal Farooq

We leave the pale blue Mustang behind a tree, your father carrying you in his arms. Your eyes are closed, your breathing slow and heavy. Approaching the small wooden house with the broken-down, rusting burgundy truck parked sadly in the front. The other car isn’t there and I think of its cherry red body carrying the house’s residents, a young couple, to a night out in town. Twisted satisfaction at the thought of their return. Your father and I exchange a heavy look, as he shifts your weight to one shoulder, scratches the stubble on his cheek. I fix my gaze on the heavy clouds above; it will pour soon, but we need to go. I play with the injection tucked away in my pocket, think of the grief and the money and the pleasure it has cost us. We need to go. Silent agreement. He nudges you awake, sets you on the side of the truck, your body covered in blue stripes, checkered tights and bright blue rain boots, a whimsical contrast to the cracked glass and eroded skeleton of the truck you are perched sleepily on. I hand you your teddy and you clutch it to your body with one hand as the other makes its own way up to your mouth, and you suck on it lightly as your father and I back away slowly. You don’t question but I see the fright in your eyes, but I think that has to do with the heavy clouds rolling above your blonde head, threatening to pour their wrath on the yellowing fields surrounding us, the looming mountains in the distance, the burgundy and the bright blue. It is not because your tiny little head knows your parents are leaving you to pursue a life of hallucination and stimulation and fixation. We hear an engine approaching; your father takes my hand as we run towards our Mustang, and I look back at you one last time, your hair whipping in the wind as I tell myself that we need to go.

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