That’s when I got really freaked out and I took off. I don’t know, I’m just trying to explain…I wasn’t just going to watch, I wasn’t planning on just sitting there watching—I wasn’t planning anything—I was going to say hello and like, say how cool it was to see you out at the lake at night…but there was something about the night, something that wasn’t right, or maybe not normal—did you feel it?—and I was scared, like I could maybe understand your fears, for the first time, cuz I hadn’t felt like that before, but there was something about seeing Ms. Marquetta there, it was like…like I’ve been saying: I’ve got to get away.
But it hadn’t been scary before, but watching you…and I could have sworn you looked scared, and maybe that got me scared, I don’t know, or maybe it’s that I hadn’t seen Ms. Marquetta until the lightning struck and I hadn’t thought about anyone else being out there cuz I was so busy watching you, and I guess I didn’t know if she’d been watching me and that got me really freaked out, and so I bolted back up into the pines, into the darkness.
And I was alone again, and I was like grateful but still scared at the same time, mostly scared, though, like I hadn’t been before—I’m not used to being scared—and after running up the hill I was breathing heavy. And it was dark back there.
It had just been that one crazy crack of lightning—weird, right?—and then the moon came back….
A one-bolt storm. Just one heavy breath from the gods, and it blew that storm right over our village. A flash in the pan. One lightning bolt at the lake, and that’s all it had to say.
So I’m sittin’ there in the pines, thinking I’ve run away from something weird, and the moon comes out again, and I don’t know what it was like for you down at the lake, because at this point I’m alone in the pines, and the moon comes out again—like a flashlight, Lilly-Anne—a beam of moonlight shining on this patch of ground right in front of me. And lying there in the dirt at my feet, in the beam of moonlight I see a ticket.
And I knew what it was, Lilly-Anne. I knew what it was.
Without even looking at it,
I knew what it was.
out of here.
I could take that ticket and go anywhere I wanted, any time. A free ticket, Lilly-Anne. Staring me in the face, directly in this beam of moonlight, and I’m out there alone, on my own. I’ve run and left you, and I ran away from Ms. Marquetta, and I’m just there, alone in the woods, and this beam of moonlight is flashlighting a ticket at my feet, and I know without looking at it that it’s my ticket out of here. I’ve been looking for this ticket, you know? I’ve been wanting it so bad, for so long. And there it is, finally, a free ticket out of our village.
And I’m scared to death.