Stage 3. A pack a day

We wait. 

It’s a new feeling, and old. A skeptic's self-reliance wedged into cotton-scented camaraderie that compels me to delay. It has none of the thrill of running flustered through the forest; I've no freedom away from the wheel. 

Yet I dip my toes in forgotten comforts, taste tears and chocolate on a bed thick with cushions. I cautiously peek into cupboards filled with bikes and bagels, cheddar and air. I disdain, delight, laugh, disappear. I horde solitude, there's a jealous fervor to my peace and quiet. I prop my feet on the wheel well while they bounce in the backseat.

We must wait for everyone.

The pack has tongues and they're sharp. They lash and laugh, always to the left. The pack has pantsuits, collared shirts and sunburn under makeup and headscarves. The pack is idealistic and cynical, some kindred savagery shines among the cigarette smoke.

The pack is safety, it uses phrases like “should be” and I chafe at conventionalities. The pack is mismatched; it’s painted claws and bits of hair, easy amity welcoming feral affection.

We must travel in packs and stay out of the sun. They want to hide when I know we should run.

I’m caged in these breathtaking gates this compound is a nest of footholds I ache to put my hands on. They intertwine and overlap, they stretch through the city with guards on every hilltop. They taunt and check, place chains of observation round my wrists pit respect against rebellion and my pack can't help me.

I don’t need the alcohol I don’t need to inhale though it helps still I need to explore. This heat is calming it’s comfortable but I’m finally waiting for winter and it’s taking so long. I want moonlit explorations I want to watch these waterfalls under our brother's gaze and if he ever blinks I will scale the city.

They want me to stay they want me to wait to make sure everyone is alright but don’t they know they would be if we would just run.