[ a place ]

by pfc kory

Myron sat on the floor, huddled in the small space between his bed and the dresser. His arms wrapped tightly around his knees, he nervously bounced against the wall. A new library book, clutched tightly in both hands, tapped in unison against his shin.

"Read, Myron. Don't listen, just read," he pleaded with himself.

Forcing his hands to move the book up until it was balanced on top off his knobby knees, he opened it and peered down at the page - a random page. The words wouldn't focus. It took nearly a full minute for Myron to realize that he'd forgotten his reading glasses. Looking up from the blurry page, he scanned his bedroom - they weren't here. He'd left his glasses...out there - with them. Determinedly fighting off the tears threatening to well up in his eyes, Myron barely noticed as the book slipped quietly from his fingers, sliding down his shin and coming to a rest precariously balanced across his feet. Rewrapping his arms around his legs and closing his eyes, Myron let his head slowly drop until it rested where the book had been.

Without his glasses, his new book ceased to matter. He couldn't go get them. Couldn't go...out there. That was their world, now. The General had taken her from him - taken Myron's place in that world. Now it was a world where they fought over him - without seeing him. Fought like they were fighting now. He had no place in that world.

Loud, but controlled - always controlled - voices filtered through the wood of his bedroom door. Her voice insisting that "the boy" stay - his place was with them. THEY WOULD BE A FAMILY. His voice insisting that "the boy" would go - his place was at the academy. The proper education - THAT WAS THE PRIORITY. The voices invaded his world, depriving him of his sanctuary.

His place??!! His place??!! Myron's voice screamed silently inside himself - loudly and uncontrolled. He had no place. He was just a toy to be fought over. For her, he was a baby doll that she could dress up and hold - something to stave off her loneliness and give meaning to her existence. For him, Myron was a toy soldier to be dressed and posed in the General's image - to stand in the World as a reminder of his greatness. They could not both possess him and they could not share. So he had no place in that world.

Loneliness and frustration surged through him and he felt a tear spill out of the corner of his eyes. NO! HE WOULD NOT CRY! Damn them! Damn them both!! He was NOT a toy to be fought over until he was broken and discarded. He had no place here, so he would go to the fuckin' academy. He would be prepared for West Point, made ready for the Army. Of course, he WOULDN't go to West Point - he would have no place there either - but that was later. Now the Academy would give him time to find his place - a sanctuary that they could not reach - a door too far away from them for their voices to penetrate.

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