Okay, I think I’m ready to tell my story now. Is this thing on? Mic check, one, two, three...
I was on a plane right now, waiting for takeoff and trying to distract myself from my thoughts. And journaling was definitely not the way to go. Not only did it make me want to word-vomit on the piece of paper before me, but I also felt weirdly in-sync with my inner emotions. It would be easy to describe the panic and fear that had been boiling up under the almost calm expression on my face.
A few moments ago, back when I had only arrived to my seat and took out all my writing necessities, I realized that this was something completely unlike me. To get up and leave my world behind. To not consider the things I was losing and the people I had been hurting.
I had been always been a flawed, selfish person. But this time, I knew that what I was doing was only right for myself. I had realized that my home environment had been toxic and I wanted to be rid of it. I wanted better for myself and I would no longer deny myself the opportunities based on my fear of the future.
What fueled my new-found bravery was the knowledge that I could be whoever I wanted. Nobody really knew me and just like that summer I spent in California, I didn’t have my brother and his friends to pull me under. I could finally figure out who I truly was on my own.
To get to this point of me getting on the plane, I must explain all the things that had happened to ensure it.
After finding out how my brother, his friends, my boyfriend and the entire school made me into a living bet and after finally deciding that I wanted to transfer to my aunt’s school, my Mom and I made the necessary arrangements for my trip. She booked the airplane that same day - that’s how much she wanted me to attend the school.
She packed my bags and prepared everything I needed for the next few days. We were in such a rush that I didn’t have enough time to even say goodbye to my Dad. The last flight to New York left in less than two hours that day. I was at the cafe when I notified my Aunt that I’d be coming over for a visit and explained to her briefly that I needed a change of scenery. Luckily, she didn’t ask any questions over the phone but I was sure she would be waiting with a whole list of them once I arrived.
Since she was the principal, she could pull some strings and get me enrolled into the school in under a week. My good grades made everything a lot easier, but there’s still a lot of catching up I would have to do. Still, I considered studying to be one of the best things to pass time.
After that call, I booked the last flight and waited for my Mom to pick me up at the cafe. Some people would say my Mom was being a bad parent for letting me do this. In her defense, she had been trying to convince me to enroll for years now.
And now, her dream came true. I was going to study at the New York Music Boarding School.
But first, I had to get there.
The flight was crazy. Somewhere in the middle of it, we landed on bad weather and slight turbulence. For someone who’s paranoid, my mind went straight to the worst-case scenario. And then I thought about Vanessa. She had to live this. These were her last moments.
I thought I was going to puke. And then I did. Luckily, the flying companies had bags prepared for that sort of thing.
I felt woozy when I got off the plane, but mostly relieved. After security, I went to grab my luggage, then tried to find my aunt Jessica. My eyes landed on a woman that certainly looked like an older version of her. But I could hardly recognize her with dyed blonde hair. I always knew my aunt to be a brunette.
Her eyes sparked up when as she saw me and that’s when I knew for sure she was my Aunt.
It was late, almost midnight and she was here, giving me one of her strong Momma bear hugs. I welcomed it, drawing strength from it because I needed it now more than ever. I was about to become a new girl in a city I did not know.
“Little Astrid, oh,” she cried out loud, not seeming as composed usual.
It had been several years since I had seen her last. And yet I felt like nothing had changed.
My aunt was the kindest person on earth. She was loving, caring and a second mother to everyone she met. She couldn’t escape the happy sob of seeing me and one of her hands immediately went up to her mouth. “You’ve grown so much since I’ve last seen you.”
I managed to smile, but it was a nervous one. “It’s been a long time,” I reminded her.
The last I’ve seen aunt Jessica was when Vanessa’s accident happened. She was at her funeral and then stayed a month more to make sure I was as okay as I could be. She was also the one who suggested I should transfer schools and start going to New York instead of going back home because she knew it would be harder without Vanessa there. But I refused.
My aunt was a great woman. There was no one like her. She was smart, funny and all those qualities I’ve mentioned before.
She led me to the car and then we were on our way home. I was happy to be finally on land again. She tried to strike a conversation with me as we were driving. And let me tell you something: driving in New York City was a disaster. There was constant traffic and some might even call it hell on Earth if you get stuck in the car with the wrong person. Even at midnight, the city was alive and vibrant.
I didn’t reply to her much, feeling exhaustion take its toll. I was able to get a few short answers out.
We eventually arrived at my aunt’s apartment. I didn’t know she had one, but she did.
“Tomorrow, we’ll talk to your Mom and get the transfer papers ready. But tonight, you rest.”
She put my things beside the bed in one of the guest rooms. Then she kissed my forehead and walked out, leaving me alone with my bed.
I changed into my pajamas and went straight to bed, not daring to think what the next few days might bring.