Please note: this is part fiction, part non-fiction
There I was, being pushed forcibly out the door of my aunt’s apartment into the dark stairwell, lit only by a single flickering light from the flight above. That was my punishment for not eating at the speed my aunt wanted me to eat.
Bad children are slow eaters, my aunt once told me, but as fast as I can chew, I wasn’t fast enough. It wasn’t my fault. I only have half the number of teeth a normal person has.
Quietly, I sat on the step, sobbing. I was afraid of the dark, of kidnappers, of strangers, of everybody and everything, period. Then I saw him, sitting on the flight below, staring up at me. “Are you okay?” He asked. Heart pounding, I nodded shakily.
He walked up one flight, to where I was and sat down beside me. From his pocket, he pulled out a cigarette and offered me one. I declined, didn’t want to give my aunt another reason to punish me. I watched him light a cigarette, inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale, as puffs of smoke floated mid-air.
“It’s going to be okay, you know, it’s going to be okay.” He said.
For the first time that night, my fear and anxiety subsided. “I know,”