The Journey begins
9TH OF JULY
Fuck, I’m running around like crazy. I grab some makeup from the vanity, throw it into a little pouch, and shove it into my handbag. Then I run downstairs at full speed, grab my charger off the kitchen island bench, and run back up. I almost knock over Cinthia -the maid- on my way up, so I scream an apology over my shoulder as I’m nearing the top floor.
Back in my room, I open up the suitcase once more, and throw in the charger as well as the white dress with red flowers. I took it out last night, thinking maybe I had too much luggage, but I decided that there’s not such a thing as too much luggage. I’ve packed and repacked this damned bag so many times in the last few days, that I’m starting to lose the little patience I have left..
As I try to close it again, I tell myself this is it, I need to get going. Just as if I called it, fate decides that the zip should get stuck on something.
“For fucks sake!”
I look at the zip, and find a piece of red lace poking out of the side, half tangled in it.
“Fucking fuck, shit!” I cry angrily, “Why are you doing this to me Universe?! This is my fucking favourite thong!” I do not give a shit about anything anymore, so I rip the lace as I pull as hard as I can on the little piece of fabric, and then throw whatever’s left of it in the trash can under the desk.
I haul the suitcase off the four-poster bed, and start rolling it towards the door. I curse yet again, drop the bag on the floor, open it, grab the charger and shove it in the handbag. I’m a dork, I do need the charger on me for such a stupidly long flight.
I’m finally on my way down the marble staircase, struggling as I step sideways while holding the heavy bag high enough for it not to hit the steps. Maybe I did pack too much…
Reaching the bottom, I let out a loud sigh.
“Why wouldn’t you have the chauffeur take that down the stairs for you?”
A spring tightens in my back as I hear my father’s reproaching tone, my posture going rigid before I can even think about it, my chin going up, my shoulders back. I mentally slap myself, and make my shoulders drop and visibly slouch again as I make an effort to relax my face into a pleasant and cheeky smile.
“Why would I, when I can just do it myself?” I say, not sounding nearly as strong as I intended. Father seems about to complain, but it’s like he reconsiders, and just shakes his head lightly instead.
“Where are you going anyways?” He asks.
My blood starts to boil instantly. My jaw clenches, my hand closes into a fist. I consider screaming, punching and kicking at the air to let all my frustration out. It takes all of my willpower to keep my cool, unclench my fist and relax my jaw enough to put another lazy smile on my face. ‘I told you, dad’ I want to say. ‘Don’t you remember our conversation about it? Maybe I should have written you an email instead, as you check your phone more often that you check on me.’ But I can’t say any of that, so I start to slowly roll the suitcase towards the double doors at the entrance.
As I walk past him, I talk as casually as I can manage.
“Told you, I’m going to New Zealand with Sam, I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.” I say without looking at him.
I hear him tsk, but I keep walking with my chin up, not daring to look back.
“I didn’t think you were being serious,” he says after a moment.
“Bye, daddy!” I say with a sarcastic tone as I look over my shoulder for just a second, and shine a huge smile at him.
I get to the entrance hall, open the doors, and loudly drag my suitcase down the flight of steps, secretly hoping I won’t break one of the wheels. The Uber driver is already there, waiting, and he’s got a perplexed expression on his face as he takes in the house. In another scenario, I would have laughed at him or made a sarcastic comment, but right now, I don’t feel like either.
“Sorry for being late,” I say in a faked sweet tone, “I will pay you extra for your time.”
Not waiting for an answer, I push the suitcase into the back seat, and then sit next to it. I rest an arm over the bag and look up at the house for a moment before the car starts rolling away. I take in the white columns framing the stupidly pretentious entrance, the double doors with the ribbets of gold, the plain white walls. All the white-everything and ostentatious unnecessary luxuries. There’s a tiny piece of me that half hopes to see father on the front steps. But no, there’s obviously no one there. I shouldn’t even bother.
I let out a big sigh and grab my phone. There’s 10 unread messages sitting there. Obviously, they’re all from Sam… she must be walking up the walls by now.
“On my way.” I type quickly before I shove the phone back into my handbag, and look straight ahead as the car drives past the big metal gates.
I’m walking slowly, pushing my suitcase behind me as I pace back and forth through the lobby. A part of me feels like my mind is dancing and jumping around to the rhythm of the music blasting through my headphones, but the other part is anxiously waiting for Emma to arrive.
I can still hear the thousand voices around me, the clicking of their heels on the floor as they walk in and out of the building, the rolling of the suitcases, the distant sound of a voice on a loudspeaker. I can never let the volume get loud enough to shut down the world... it makes me feel vulnerable.
Mum says something, but I pretend not to hear.
She taps me in the shoulder then and points at the headphones. Reluctantly, I take them off.
“I don’t know mum,” I say.
“Oh, so you could hear me!” Mum stares at me with an exaggerated frown, and I can’t help but laugh a little.
“She’s running late as usual, but she said she’ll be here soon.”
“Do you want me to go grab you a coffee or something while we wait?”
A coffee would be great, but maybe I don’t need extra caffeine before the flight when my senses are already in such a hype. And I should probably take advantage of the flights and sleep as much as possible to minimise jet lag.
“Maybe a herbal tea?” I say.
“Okay hon, sure, I’ll be right back.” With that, mum heads to the closest café inside the airport as I stare into nothing and think.
We will be boarding in two hours, heading over to our biggest adventure so far. I mean, we have traveled around our own country plenty, but this is so different. Our first ever international trip together. I’ve been watching videos and looking at pictures non stop for the past two months, and I feel like I can no longer contain the excitement. There’s so many magical looking places that we’re going to visit! My heart is flipping!
I even watched the whole Lord of the Rings saga last week… However, I did fall asleep about 10 times in the process. The story didn’t really excite me that much for some weird reason, but I absolutely loved the landscapes and still can’t believe that’s actually the place where I was born. I should probably give the books a try when I’m back.
We will be boarding in two hours, heading into the unknown. To a place that we basically know nothing about, regardless of how much we investigated. We are heading to a country that doesn’t even speak the same language we do... I mean, me and Em are both super fluent in english as we’ve been speaking it since we were kids. But one thing is speaking between us, which we actually do all the time, and another completely different thing is spending almost three weeks surrounded by people that won’t know a single word of spanish.
What if I forget how to speak english and I can’t communicate properly? What if something goes wrong with the flights? Just like that, my throat starts closing up a bit. I swallow. What if their accent is really as hard to understand as people say? My pulse rises and my heart beats so loud that I think I can hear it. What if we run out of money? Or if we get robbed? What if our suitcases get lost in between airports? That happens, right? I take a big breath, in through the nose and out through the mouth as my counsellor recommended. And again.
Mum comes back with a take away cup in her hand and tries to hand it over to me, but I can't move. What if something bad happens? What if we end up stranded on the other side of the world? Or if we have a medical emergency and don’t know what to do? Mum’s warning resonates in my brain. What if me and Em get separated? What if we get into a fight? What if the plane crashes? What if? What if? The list has no visible end.
“Hun?” Mum’s still standing there, her arm stretched and the tea going cold in her hand.
“Sorry,” I say, and my voice comes out strangled, "Can you actually hold it for a moment?” I ask, “I need to head to the toilet.”
“Sure thing, I’ll hold your suitcase too.” She says as she grabs the handle out of my hand and balances the cup on top.
I walk quickly to the bathrooms, my eyes fixed on the entrance, not even blinking. I reach the basin, open the tap, and splash cold water over my face. I listen to the sound of the water running, and I firmly hold on to the marble counter with both hands. The hard stone and it’s coldness help bring my attention back to the present moment. I look up to the mirror, and I picture a forest with streams running among the trees as I imagine the smell of the pines, the sound of water rushing. Thinking of forests, fresh air and open spaces always seems to do the trick.
I won't let my anxiety win, not today, I’m going to jump on that plane, and head into the unknown. I close my eyes for a second and take a deep breath as I picture myself walking into the plane. I got this. When I open my eyes again, I see Em standing behind me. She’s got her eyebrows tucked together, looking a bit confused, but as soon as she notices I’m looking back at her, one side of her lips start turning up into a half smile. Soon enough, she’s grinning from ear to ear.
“Holly shit,” Em squeaks, “I love the new style!” She runs over to me excitedly and stretches over to ruffle my hair. Most of my doubts vanish away with Em’s touch as I picture my best friend’s confidence slipping through her fingertips and entering straight into my brain.
I’m so glad for Em’s contagious positive energy as I can’t help the smile that spreads on my lips.
“You were right, it was time for a change,” I say with a pleased tone as I brush my hair with my fingers, fixing the mess Emma just made.
I look back at the mirror, at my hair that is now barely past my shoulders, and bleached to a light blond with light and dark orange highlights.
“This is legit, you look like a blazing fire, hot-as-fuck!” Em declares while pretending to mimic a fire with her arms, drawing waves in the air and winking at me with overly exaggerated gestures.
I laugh out loud at Em’s quirkiness, and punch her lightly on the shoulder.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I complain, “You’re the hot one in this duo, and will always be.” Em rolls her eyes at this, and turns halfway towards the exit.
“Ready to do this, bitch? It’s time to check in,” she says over her shoulder looking back at me.
“Yeah, we’ve got this,” I reply.
NOTE: Hey! Thanks for making it this far! I hope you're enjoying Sam and Em's friendship as much as I am💕