It is times like this—at night when I should be sleeping—that I miss England the most. The window in my third-floor bedroom that was always half-open, even on those freezing February nights. If the window was closed, I felt trapped—like I was in some sadistic snow globe—I felt like I was suffocating. But if the window was open, anything was possible.
England was beyond the realm of everything possible—4,000 miles away from every last person who loved me, learning—maybe, finally, hopefully—what it means to (not only) love—but to trust and like—myself.
You lied to me when you told me nothing changed in my absence. I swear to god, the layout of my life up and rearranged itself, like a Rubik’s cube, like an earthquake that didn’t destroy anything but shuffled up the landscape like a deck of cards. “Got any threes?” “Go fish.”
I am full, but your hands are empty; you no longer have a hold on me. I am the dealer, and the house always wins. “Hit me.” Bust. I said the house always wins.
Shelbey Winningham is a senior Creative Writing major at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. An Arkansas native, Shelbey has always harbored a love of reading and writing. Her work has appeared in Underground, Arkana, and the Hendrix Aonian.