It’s been a little over a year since I inked a lamppost onto my forearm. I had wanted it for about a year. I knew exactly where it needed to reside on my body. I knew the exact reason I wanted it. Then I do what I tend to do with tattoos, I wait, and then one day I know it’s the day, the day for it to happen.

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Last October was especially killer. September had been a rough month with Gavyn’s seizure, his decline in his health, watching other kids with medical needs struggle around me, not having created a strong community again since leaving my church. It was all washing over me.

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Gavyn had a twenty-four-hour long test done. I had sat with him, stayed with him, tried to keep him happy, occupied, all the things. I was given less than favorable results. I had expected them, I had hoped for better. I was running out.

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We got home. I washed Gavyn’s hair, we showered, we ate, we did the things. I sat on the porch and began texting you, before you were you if you know what I mean. I asked for an adventure. I asked for an escape. I asked for a kidnapping. Dinner? Tattoos? Drinks? Of course. It was you and you don’t say no. It felt like you were at my house in less than 15 minutes but I think it was longer.

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We got in your car, I’d never been in your car, that was dumb, that felt unreal, eleven years and I’d never been in your car. We looked up where I wanted to get my tattoo and realized it was tattoos first and dinner later. You took a million pictures of my tattoo process. I missed you getting yours. We went out for Mexican food and drinks. We talked, we talked a lot, I don’t know if I even remember what about. Life. We always talked about life. I think I was home by 9.

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In November, when things were falling apart, I went on a walk. I left when it was dusky outside. I walked around and around the neighborhood. I think he and I had fought. Wasn’t every day a fight by then? I was wrestling in my mind. Trying to sort it out, make it logical, make it right, rip it apart. I came around the bend and started down the hill to my house. The light had turned almost dark by then and the lampposts were coming on.

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I told myself I just had to find my lamppost and walk home. I just had to get home. Home would always be the same. I would work it out. Somehow God would redeem it. We’d be that couple. Restored. The pit in my stomach grew. Change wouldn’t come easy. Change might never come at all. It felt like a chain on my ankle. The staying.

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The problem was, I was looking for my lamppost, I was looking for my home, but it had all gotten entangled with you. The lamppost was a metaphor. It was my beacon in the dead of night. It was the way to find my way out of the darkness. My lamppost would always bring me safely home. Except somehow you were the one always standing by it, waiting, listening, making sure it stayed lit.

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Artwork: At the Lamp-post by TessJa on DeviantArt