“We are going to get in there,” T. said. “Follow me.”
“We can’t break in,” I said. “We’ll be arrested.” T. shook his head. “We’re not breaking in. We’re walking in.”
I follow. Again. We meant to see the AIDS quilt. We were grad students at Kent State and the quilt was making a stop in Cleveland, but only for s few days. I had to trade hours with a girl at JC Penney, and hope the car would make the drive, but away we went, T. and I, to see the names of the dead.
We pulled up to the arena (or whatever you call those places where they have basketball games) and the parking lot was empty, the lights off, and the doors locked. We had the wrong day. But for T. it was never the wrong day.
Around the building we walked until he found the employee entrances, and how could it breaking and entering? The door was unlocked. Few lights were on, and we walked, just the two of us, down those wide concrete halls, unsure of where to go and whispering. We came to the freight elevator, and I joked about looking for a Coke machine. T. joked I went blind too much.
We came to…I don’t know what the words are for these spaces…concourse? Well, we walked, found the archway into the basketball court and walked through. The only lights now were those thin, white strips of lights in the concrete stairs to all the seats. Our steps echoed and we stopped talking. The quilt was there, sections spread out in the dark, other sections hanging from above.
T. went on way around and I went the other. We could stand right up to the panels, read the dimly lit names, see the images, and be just us.
T. and I met on the other side of the court, we thought of nothing to say. Then we heard footsteps and whistling. There was nowhere to go and we couldn’t make ourselves move anyway. We waited to get caught.
A man in a gray uniform appeared on the first level above the floor. “Hey,” he said.
T. did the talking. “We came to see the quilt,” he said. “We found an open door. but we’ll leave if want us to.”
The man looked down at us, thought a moment, and said, “You go ahead and look around. But they’ll seal the doors in 30 minutes–and then you won’t be able to get out until the morning.” He continued on his way.
If you break the rules in your story, there’s no telling what you might find. That doesn’t mean you don’t need someone to say you might be going too far. Then again, get locked in and that’s another adventure entirely. Who helps you feel like you can break a rule? Who encourages you to go further in your fiction? What writing rule have you broken and discovered something amazing?