The waves crash against the dock as I watch the sun set. I breathe in the fresh year and think that I finally found my home. My heart has belonged to the lake since I was a baby. I’ve never felt safer at any place in my life. Whenever things get rough, the pictures I worked so hard on bring me back to the ground. The orange-yellow sky as I sit on a bench by the shore. The people walking their dogs or holding hands with significant others fade. The only thing I see is the water, reflecting everything around me. I’m in love. The lake is the strongest love I’ve ever experienced. Every moment I’m not there is wasted. I think about it constantly, the memories of past visits playing in my mind like a movie. My father walking in after a two-hour bike ride, ready to eat the dinner prepared by his parents. The taste of corn on the cob we had nightly still lingers in my mind. Watching the boats pass by with my family, still whole. The day my world fell apart tainted the lake just a little, but nowhere near as tainted as the place I lay my head tonight. Seeing my sister fall, seeing her give up and watching as she puts herself back together leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. His face in my face as he takes everything I never gave him, as he shatters me, colors everything I touch in this dead-end state. His tooth gap haunts every thought. The lake calls as all of this floats in my mind. It calls me every day, asking me to return to its warm embrace. I think of the freedom I will soon feel. I think of the new memories I will make; all the things I’ll accomplish away from the darkness I feel now. I never knew one place could carry so much. I never realized that I could find a forever home, one that I found before I needed it. I feel the water on my feet, as I stand looking out at the mountains, smiling and feeling the weight of the world leaving my shoulders. I have carried so much for so long. It is finally time to feel the lightness I’ve so desperately desired. His hands will never cross my mind again, his knife will no longer twist in my side. The self I lost will always remain lost, but I will finally start over. I will finally rebuild my life, in the place that has been calling. The waves crashing against the dock are the voice bringing me home. It’s time to listen to their call. I’m finally going home.
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