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Rules for Leaving Town

How to prepare for the trip

Take your beat-up old car, trunk stuffed with everything there is to your name,

And get the oil changed.

They tell you to get new tires, new struts, new steering belt before you go.


They look into your tired eyes and wish to keep you a little longer.

Go see your first friends for the last time,

And watch as they cry when you part ways.

God why don’t you feel anything?

This isn’t even happening, something will stop you this time.

You’ll see her next week after her shift.

Look at your family.

Smile, maybe.


Watch as your mother cries when you walk towards the door.

“Hug your mother,” Dad says.

Do it.

You won’t miss her an ounce,

But she’s worried herself sick every night since you left.

How to make the eternal drive

Fourteen hours drive is too long for a single day

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But between you and Dad, drive much more than him.

You can’t cry on a highway.

Not that you would anyways.

The past month wasn’t even real.

Was it?

How to make "memories" in your new town

Compare everything in your new town to your old town.

It really is all you know.

Everything is so close in your new town.

“In my old town, I had to get on the highway to go almost anywhere.”

“The weather up here is so nice, its 100° in my old town.”

“Texas didn’t boom till after WWII, it’s so different than Kentucky’s Pre-WWII architecture.”

Never watch the sunset in your new town.

Good thing you didn’t pay attention to the last sunset in your old town.

This way, nothing ever changed.

It’s not the end of the song.

It’s just a new verse.

Look back on your old town.

Think about your tiny rituals,

Getting home a few minutes before curfew

Sitting in your car until it’s time to go inside.

Yelling and singing as you walk up the front yard,

Careful to avoid that weird little hole that’ll leave you with a twisted ankle.

Remember the cats meowing at you when they needed more food

And think about how you were always the only one home for them to go to.

Those gas stations you so regularly frequented won’t ever see you again.

Your favourite CD shop,

Kind faces and nice employees who you’ll never visit.

People that you’ll miss but can’t tell them that.

How to settle into your new town

Don’t go to therapy.

Don’t feel your emotions like you know you should.

Bottle them up, feel numb and void at all times.

Forget about that psychiatrist appointment you so desperately need.

All they’ll do is drug you up with anti-depressants

And some sort of anti-psychosis for your maniac episodes.

Life is one big episode, an inescapable trap.

They want to keep you from living.

Don’t you know the death penalty is still legal in Kentucky?

You don’t know anybody here.

You don’t know where you are

Or what to do.

Find people online, that’s your best bet in this day and age.

Comfort and Kindness are only found in casual hookup apps now,

Where you cross your fingers hoping they won’t try and screw you.

You just wanted a friend or two, someone to show you around.

Someone to smile with.


Numbness is your advantage.

Use it.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Melanie Wynne

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