and 7 Other Flashes of Character
J. Timothy King
“Disorder” and 7 Other Flashes of Character
Copyright © 2011 J. Timothy King. All rights reserved.
Published by J. Timothy King.
First electronic edition, March 2011.
She sneaks out of the house while no one is looking and heads to the bad side of the city. Her husband is upstairs reading to the kids, and she is supposedly catching up on her email. As far as she knows, no one realizes she is gone.
She strolls down the sidewalk under the dimming sky and watches the street lamps flicker as they come alive. She inhales dingy, urine-soaked air, feels cool wind on her face, catches a whiff of used cigarette smoke, and grins. She knows she could be mugged at any time, or worse. Her fear makes the experience more real. With every step her breath comes faster, her heart thumps harder. This is life, she thinks, pure, unadulterated aliveness.
She was only 11 years old the first time she snuck out. Her mother had kept her penned in the house, except on supervised outings, wouldn’t even allow her to play with the neighborhood kids without a babysitter. One night she climbed out of her bedroom window and basked in the moonlight, dancing through the yard like Julie Andrews on a high mountain. As she returned, she found her mother in her empty bedroom. She received the scolding of a lifetime. What did she think she was doing? Didn’t she know how much danger she had put herself in? A small girl, out alone in the middle of the night? Was she crazy? She remembered some arguing, but mostly a lot of crying.