Mr. Alexander Goes and Returns

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For Round 7 of our contest, we asked you to send us original works of fiction that have a character come to town and someone leave town.

You are out in the twilight of Wilmington when everything is blue and you are very tired so you drive and drive and drive and drive until the sky is red because pollution spreads this far, you know, and the radio in your car plays songs you didn't even know existed because popular culture is not prison culture but sweet Jesus how good does it feel to hear the voice of a woman singing about love again how long has this been? and you drive and the drive feels like reality, like you are running, like the breaths you are taking are not circulated air but real freedom and you open the window and everything is loud and cool and alive and this is good, this is what you want.And you are driving driving driving driving until you are stopped and you are taking off your shoes and feeling sand between your toes the way you used to when you were a child, the way you did when you ran down the beach and dove headlong into the water after dinner and your mother yelled at you that you'd get a cramp and die and that would have been alright with you.

You are familiar with this southern beach town and this beach because it is yours and the footprints you leave might have been there since you were sixteen and took your final swim or maybe they are there from when you were finishing law school but either way, they have been there for longer than anyone but you can know.

The house that was yours, where you lay at nights and watched the lights out on the ocean and listened to the sounds of the ships, is now somebody else's and you can see her shape through the shades and the shape of another woman with her and you wonder if they are lovers or sisters or perhaps two sides to one person - it wouldn't surprise you, nothing does anymore.

This house was yours and now it is theirs and now there are the shapes of men and they sound young, all of them sound young and youth sounds very different now than it did when you were their age you are sure, and summers sound very different and you feel the sun differently, but the beach sounds the same and will always sound the same because you want it to sound the way it did when you were nine and the only defense against evil you had was to scrub your body until it was raw and dive into salt water until you were a scab but that meant you were protected and now, for you consider fifty-something old, you are old but wish to do the same thing, but cannot imagine the young people with their beers and reality tv and money in trust funds would be very appreciative of you knocking on the door that is theirs that was once yours and asking if you can shed your skin and become something you used to be.

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