Friends In The Park

“I’d like to think so,” I said, my voice trailing off. My mind went back to Jared. On the way to the warehouse, I was thinking how good things had gotten between us and I didn’t even have a clue about how bad they were.
“I can tell she thinks the world of you; that’s special. People like that don’t grow on trees,” Benny said, his voice was a strange mix of distance and warmth.
“That’s the truth,” I nodded.
We followed the path to the right of our apartment building. The air was bitter. I slid my hands into my pockets. Benny noticed this, “Are you cold?” He asked.
I honestly couldn’t help but to smile a little. “A little, but I’m fine.”
“My uncle is a real mean guy, always has been. I think being mean comes from somewhere deep enough that it is close impossible to extract once inside. My mom, before she died was so upset when her sister, my aunt, married this guy. He treats her like shit. It makes her sad, but she doesn’t do anything, she just takes it. My uncle tried that shit with me a little after I moved in with them. I beat him down, and he leaves me alone. He’s easier on my aunt when I’m around. I worry about her once I’m gone. But, I have to leave. There isn’t a place for me here; I know it’s somewhere else.”
“Why are telling me this?” I asked.
“Because, you will get treated badly if you allow it,” Benny said, keeping his voice kind. We both let his words hang in the air between us.
“I will admit to ignoring stuff but I found out about a lot I didn’t know tonight, “ I said. It felt good to hear my own words acknowledged it out loud. “I hear you about the needing to leave. I realized I needed to be away from my family to be healthy and find a place I belonged.”
“What are you doing about it?” He asked. Benny was now walking closer to me than he was.

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