I was running. I had been running for what felt like a lifetime. At long last, I came upon a green meadow of cash. My eyes were dazzled by all the Ben Franklins and Andy Jacksons and it seemed like I could finally rest. I laid down amongst the softest green and felt myself being wrapped and rocked to sleep by the blankets of financial security. Before very long, the luxurious ground beneath me disappeared and I began to fall. A rope appeared above my head and I grasped it as quickly as I could. The rope became a handcuff around my wrist and I was pulled into a brand of slavery they called The Workforce. For years, I sweated and broke my back until one day..when I willed the cuff off my wrist..and it worked. I had to run. I ran past white picket fences whose houses all looked the same and whose families seeped with dysfunction but were still trying to operate conventionally. I ran through fields and courts where young boys, with a look of desperation hidden in their eyes, tried to become the hypermasculine stars they thought they were supposed to be. I ran through bathrooms where young girls were crowded around mirrors, applying clown make-up to their beautiful faces and as I looked over my shoulder I saw one grow so thin she vanished. I came to a grungy city block where streets full of gears ran like clockwork, their pipes emitting toxic gases into the air. In an alley, I saw a pack of gluttonous pit bulls feeding off the corpse of some poor, starved stray. I ran past a huddled group of people with the word SINNER written in blood on their foreheads. They were whispering to each other, as if afraid someone might hear, about their deepest, darkest secrets..the parts of themselves they usually tried to ignore in favor of a sparkling clean image. The city got bigger and the buildings got taller till I came to a skyscraper that broke through the clouds. I then had to climb up the social ladder to the top of the skyscraper, burning the rungs after me so noone could follow. When I got to the roof, I looked around. Above me, the sun was black and tiny neon lights twinkled in the sky. Below me, the entire city was made of plastic. While in full view of this chaotic, destructive reality, I felt a puryfing breeze gently roll by. I breathed in and I realized this entire time, I had been running from a genuine life. I walked to the edge of the building. I jumped, fell and awoke in a sweat from the American Dream.

Published by Rachel Noel