“Are you ready?”, my mom questioned.
“I think so”, I responded, my words tripping over one another.
“Do you have your prescriptions, injection, and emergency kit?”, she interrogated.
I confidently shot back, “My prescriptions are in the black medical box, my injection is in the cooler, and my emergency kit is in my backpack.”
“Okay, well I guess we should get going”, my mom mumbled.
As my mom said this I could see the sadness spilling out of her eyes. She was not ready. And I know that I am not ready. I could not believe that my childhood was finally ending. After eighteen years of having my mom every day and night by my side, I was at last venturing out into the cold hearted world on my own. I took a deep breath and tried my best to sound bold, “Well, let’s go!” I almost shouted.
As we pulled out of our driveway my eyes stared at the home I had lived in for the last five years. This was the place I had died, and was reborn. I had changed more in this house than any of the other 14 houses I had lived in. And now I was leaving for a new place once again. As we passed through downtown I started to feel my heart rate increase. My head was pounding. The world was spinning. “Pull over!” I yelled. I stumbled out of the car struggling to catch my balance. I walked awkwardly into the humble coffee shop that we stopped in front of. I heard the bell above the door jingle as I entered. My eyes darted back to my mom. She looked confused and concerned. I felt bad that I made her worry so much. It was the last thing I ever wanted to do.
Suddenly, the man at the counter asked, “Hello Sir, would you like anything?”
“Yes.” I stammered, “Give me a double shot cappuccino.”
I made my way to the nearest table and sat down. My head dropped into my clammy hands. I did not understand why this was happening. Why now? My body began to tremble starting with my feet working its way up to my chest and head. Every second I jolted more and more intensely until at last the man brought my coffee. I nearly spilled it as I grabbed it from his hands and brought up to my unsturdy lips. I slurped the creamy foam so loudly people started to stare. AHHHH! My tense shuttering body began to relax. I took another loud sip and my trembles started to weaken. A few more sips and I was already almost halfway done. I ordered another, but a large one this time. My mom did not follow me in. She knew I needed some space and I love her for knowing me so well. She just sat in the car patiently waiting for when I was truly ready to leave.
By the time the man brought me another cap I had thoroughly scanned my surroundings. To my left was a woman in lulu lemon pants, with a pink hydro flask water bottle. She was talking on the phone. To my right was a man with curly black hair and a very full beard. He was drinking black coffee, reading the newspaper. The cafe was modern, and bright. All of the counters and walls were white, with black undertones. The artwork was modern cubism and the music was a relaxed alternative. I looked down at my new large double shot cappuccino, and saw the latte art on the top was of a heart. For some reason it looked like the heart was shattered down the middle. I took a large loud sip erasing the heart as I pulled out my worn down leather notebook, and a ballpoint pen. I turned to the nearest blank page, still tasting the bittersweet coffee. I wrote:
Etched in the path
turning a simplistic stroll
to a fatal obstacle.
Do not miss
or you may slip
into the abyss of nothing
The only way
lit to follow
piece by piece
your life will
or crumble apart.
As I returned my attention to my coffee my mind raced. I could not believe that this was the same day. The very same day as four years ago when my life became broken. I was happy, and popular. I had a lot of friends and was a good athlete. Everything was going good and then… I took another sip of my cappuccino and set the paper cup down gently. By now my shakes were thoroughly gone. My heart was not pounding out of my chest anymore, and my head had finally stopped feeling like it was going to explode.
After ordering another cappuccino to go, I walked back out to where my mom was patiently waiting, opened the car door, plopped down into the tan leather interior being careful not to spill a single drop of my coffee.
“Are you ready?” she asked gently.
“Yes”, I said.
And just like that we were off, venturing off into the unknown future. I always appreciated how she did not interrogate me for the way I was. She just let it be, and accepted me for me.
Four hours later, we had arrived at the place I had worked for the last 4 years to be. This is why I stressed every night about my A minuses and studied countless hours for the SAT. Colorado College. Some call it the IV League of Colorado, with a 4% acceptance rate. A prestigious writing school, and a campus where innovation is bountiful. This was my new home, and I could not believe it was finally time for me to be on my own. As we pulled closer to the campus center, the streets became flustered with more first years just like me who were moving into an unknown reality. As we slowed to a stop, my nerves started to take over my body. I started shaking and trembling. My ears rang and my head pounded. The world was spinning. I closed my eyes trying to control my anxiety but I could not. It was too powerful of a force. “I need coffee”, I trembled out. Luckily, I had a little more of my cappuccino left. It was cold and dry tasting but it did the trick. I felt my body releasing and my mind relaxing. One deep breath and I was ready. I opened the car door, to hear a quick scrape against the BMW parked next to us. I looked up to see if anybody was in the car. Nobody. Phew.
“Hey, you! Did you just scratch my car?” said a tall dark haired guy who started to walk toward me furiously.
“Uhhh, yes, but I swear it was an accident.”
“I do not care if I was in an accident! You scratched my $40,000 car!”
“I am really sorry”
“Whatever asshole” the guy shrugged, “Just don’t ever park near me again!”
My mom was already opening up the hatchback taking out my many bags and medical equipment. She did not see my quick and aggressive first interaction at college. It took my mom and I all day to set up my single dorm. There was an orange glow of the sun setting as my mom sat me down on my new bed.
“I can’t believe you are all grown up”, she quivered.
I could see her holding back her tears.
“I know”, I responded. “I am going to miss you so much”
“Just remember that your story is powerful. Finn you will change the world with your words. Nobody can ever take away your voice. I believe in you!”.
I walked my mom out to her car, and watched as she drove away. The car became blurry as my whole body began to shake. My head felt swollen, and my heart ached. I could feel my body starting to tense up. Walking as fast as I could to the cafe on campus, I ordered a large cappuccino, and then sat on a bench in the quad. It was very green, and eerily beautiful. As I sat, and listened to the birds chirping I made another entry in my notebook.
Nerves of steel
are said never to falter.
Why do mine
never play by the rules?
My only solitude
just left me.
open to the vicious attack
of the cold hearted real world.
I dream to thrive
but I am not sure I can survive.
Quite abruptly tears began flowing out of my eyes. I tried to hold them back, but I could not. It was like a droughted river who was finally summoned. My notebook became stained by the salty purge of my tears. I attempted to take a sip of coffee but the taste became drowned by the cold powerful tears. I held my hand against my eyes so that other people could not see. When all of a sudden I heard a soft genuine voice.
“Hello? Are you alright?” said a brown haired girl with red circular glasses.
“Umm, yes. I am fine. I just have really bad allergies,” I responded trying to sound believable.
“Ohh, are you a new student?”
“Yes, um my name is Finn. You?”
“My name is Lily. I am a Sophomore.”
She offered me a hand up and asked, “Do you want to go get some coffee?”
Slightly caught off guard I replied, “Sure, that sounds perfect actually. Just give me um one second”.
In my journal I scribbled:
I might be broken
and I might be afraid
but I am unstoppable.
For I am brave
and I have a reason
to keep fighting.
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