Home to Illinois

At 17,
they invited me
to stay with them
in Indiana
when things had
shattered into
strange shards
and fragments
with my family.
Their daughter
Jen and I
had been dating
a couple years,
so I was sort of
becoming family.

It wasn’t always
great or easy,
but it was a bit of
An unpleasant

Jen and I wanted
our own place,
so we got an
got crazy,
got cruel,
and gave up.

Her mom
said I could move
back in with them,
but that lasted a week
before my room
wasn’t clean enough
for the dad, and…
back to Illinois with me.

Like I said.
Not easy or pleasant.

I’ve never told
a living soul this,
but my last morning there,
I said some things
about the situation
on the phone,
and the answering machine
in their bedroom
sometimes recorded calls,
so I went
to erase it.

The door was locked.
It had never been locked
in all the time…

They wanted to make sure
I didn’t steal anything.

And so the fucked-up kid
with the fucked-up family
went home to Illinois,
presumably to die
or be better off dead.

The feeling of that locked door
has always stayed with me.
I’ve never told anyone before now,
17 years later.

-GD Butler

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