Inside

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I had taken some time off and when I returned I found that I had been locked out. Somehow, I’d forgotten the key to my own place. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I always am.

So, I stood there, out back by the locked door as twilight sank into night. I thought: I could break in. I wasn’t wearing the right pants. If I broke a window, I’d have to pay. If I broke into the basement—it had a separate entrance—I still couldn’t get up into my place. They weren’t connected. I looked at the door. There was no cheating the deadbolt. I twisted the knob, fruitlessly.

There was a little square window beside the door. I’d left it open a crack to let in the breeze. It was one of those windows that had a little crank to open it. That morning I had given it perhaps a half turn on my way out, creating just a sliver of opening between the glass and the screen. The pane was rough and dirty. If I were to pry open the glass and cut the screen out, I might be able to climb in. I was glad that I had identification with me. I expected, living so close to the police station, to be seen. To be questioned. But no one came.

I found a stone in the parking lot to cut the screen. Once open, the window was still too small and too high up for me to scramble inside. My hands were black with dirt from the window and the screen. I sat on some bricks and tried not to touch anything.

I did get back in, eventually. In the parking lot by the dumpster, beneath the street lights, which were coming on, I found a flattened cardboard box, and I reassembled it and climbed in. When I crawled back out, I found myself back in. As though I’d never left. In my place, once again. And, though you may argue with my methods, in my place is where I have worked ever since then, diligently, to stay.
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