Sunday, July 19, 2015

Crossing the Finish Line

The night melded into the morning the day that we left. I had planned on only staying up to talk to one of my best friends on the phone and explain how wonderful my trip at Columbia had been, but by the time we had finished our conversation I knew that I wouldn't get much sleep. When I had finished packing and getting ready, Tiara dropped by my room to say goodbye. Instead of something shorter, we ended up having an hour and a half long and only partially conscious conversation about life, relationships, and the future. It's a little cloudy in my memory but we were both determined to milk time and space for all its worth.
"Left a good job in the city..."

Mark, Alyanna, Izabel, and I congregated in front of the huge steps of the Low Library for the final time at 6:45 in the morning, although we were all a little too dazed to feel nostalgic. Not to worry, nostalgia would have its time. We were greeted by Ms. Thrift and Rosie - her daughter - who were impressively perky given how early it was. Pericles, a sweet and good-natured security guard, conversed with us and bade us a genuine farewell (only 15 minutes after we met him) before getting back to his own duties. 

The second I got into the airport shuttle, I knocked out, and when we actually arrived at the airport I felt that I would again at any given moment. My heart sped up a little when my bag was checked, for fear that I would go over the dreaded 50 lb. weight limit, and I let out a little sigh of relief when the scale magically read 46. 

The plane ride itself was long and dreary; the rain delayed our trip for an hour but I had already fallen asleep by the time we took off. Throughout the whole ride, I drifted in and out of sleep. Mark was a good sport about letting me use his shoulder as a headrest because the seat's built-in headrest wasn't suitable for my height.
Although I didn't get to share my experience with anyone new on the ride there, it was great to talk with Mark (when I wasn't sleeping). I had sat next to him on the plane ride to Washington D.C. on the first day, and I couldn't help but laugh as I recalled how awkward it had been. We didn't know each other and the formalities had yet to disappear. But now, after braving the journey together, it was so much more comfortable and familial. All of us had grown closer to each other and an irreplaceable bond had formed. 

Getting off the plane and stepping back into the world I once knew was surreal. I was almost thankful that the drive back to El Cerrito High school had traffic because I couldn't come to terms with the fact that the trip was almost over. El Cerrito High School - oh my beautiful beautiful school - was a sight for sore eyes, as was Don, sporting his usual attire. 

The goodbyes and pictures at the school were brief but heartfelt, and we all agreed to hang out and keep in touch. This, for sure, was not goodbye, not even on a physical level. We'd see each other again. 

Oh yes, we would. *rubs hands together ominously* 
Bringing it in. 

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