Heading deeper into my season of grief, and yet feeling permeated with light, beaming from every pore.

January the year I turned 18 I “ran away” for the last time. That time I made it to safety, after so many tries, so many threats, so many terrors.

It was not very safe, but it was safer there than I ever had been, even walking late nights with my sharpest key between my knuckles, meth addicts in place of zombies, because Snohomish County is a place that I came from.

I still have running away dreams, so many of my dreams involve being chased, having to go into hiding. Waypoints on the two highways that segmented the town we lived in, bus stops and routes that ought to overlaps but don’t, the precarious nature of navigating between them. Bike paths that end in train stations with seven stacked labyrinths and no elevator. Waiting behind a door to fool those who might open it into believing the room is empty.

But I open a new door this year, and I want to stand in the middle of the room, under the brightest light. It is terrifying, and I am alive. It is dangerous, and I am living.

I did not kill myself by the time I turned 25. I am 30 years old now, and that is a fucking miracle. He didn’t kill me, either.

Sometimes safe is just the place where he isn’t, and sometimes I make it myself, thumb prints in clay. And I did. I got me here, fists and boots and traveling spoon, spoked wheels and determination, a hard no and a hard yes. Heart in red marker on my sleeve, because I am not afraid of caring (anymore).

It is in winter that we dig up the old roots, and plant new bulbs.