My sweaty palms bleached my eyes as I shivered in trepidation.

It was dark.

The room downstairs felt like the breath of a thousand storms beneath my toes, but that’s not why I hid behind the draped curtains.

I heard her faint screams behind bickering, yelling, and choking.

My heartbeat felt faster than the day I was born in these spontaneous moments of his rage.

I never wanted him to hurt her, squeeze her neck until she turned as purple as a beet or pulverize her brittle bones, strangling her on the couch, but she always did something wrong.

She always did…and slowly my little hands moved from my teary eyes to my ears as his wrath bled through the living room in vicious rage, staining the walls through its many holes.

I wanted to do something.

I wanted to call 911.

I wanted to do it.

I held the phone in my hand as it shook, but I only ever made it as far as the dial tone.

What would have changed if I had pushed those three numbers?

Would it all be different?

I was only a kid, but these are the blistering memories haunting me from my childhood.

Thousands of miles can’t separate me from this blackhole that slowly keeps goading me back to the pain.

But I keep goin’.

I keep livin’ my own way and with time these deep wounds will heal, leaving behind only scars of my past with a supernova of happiness ahead for me.

I’ll finally run free and wild because I want to and not because the chains of my past are enslaving me to a lifetime of despair.

Acceptance is forgiving but not forgetting or being beaten back down.

I stand tall for the first time.

I stand tall.

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Brian Cray is not a cyclist. He’s not a hitchhiker. He’s not a train hopper or an adrenaline junkie. He’s just an ordinary man with gypsy blood in his veins, who can’t seem to settle down. Nothing defines him. He goes wherever this world takes him on this journey we call life, roaming the world, at will, by any means. He aspires for a life of indefinite travel, a tiny home in the woods for him and his wife, and any work that keeps him wanderin’. Brian Cray is a travel writer at heart, sharing his stories with the world one keystroke at a time.

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