I have never done anything unpredictable, but that changed today when I woke up, packed a bag, went to the airport and randomly bought a ticket to Ireland. I needed something new, so new that I would feel that sense of being lost and out of place that I haven’t felt in years. Something that would calm that ennui inside that I haven’t been able to quiet. I know I should be happy, I have a good job and good boyfriend, I have a couple good friends. But, everything changed when Alice died. Three months ago, my younger sister was in a car crash, and she didn’t survive. The first month all I felt was pain. The second month I felt guilt, and a sense of needing to do more. This last month, pushed me over the edge. An overwhelming need to go out and do more with my life, life that Alice wouldn’t get to experience, consumed me. So here I was, at the airport, waiting for a plane to Ireland. I fiddled with the ticket in my hands, already nervous, but there was no going back now. After purchasing the ticket I had called my boss at the online news outlet I worked for to tell her I would need some time off, I had plenty of unused vacation and while suddenly demanding time off wasn’t really how things were done, I had earned a certain amount of leeway over the last 10 years. My boss, Simone, had talked me into using part of my vacation and working to provide travel content for the blog they had just launched. Ever the type to make the best of a situation, Simone even managed to spin my midlife crisis to her advantage.
Gnawing on my lip, I pulled my laptop from my bag- might as well start on content for that blog now before spending over six hours on a plane next to strangers looking over my shoulder, I hated writing under scrutiny. I opened up my laptop and started drafting out some minor details about what to pack, what to leave, how to make a spur of the moment trip happen. I spun it all out neatly, as if I had planned to wake up this morning, drive to JFK without telling anyone, and buy a ticket out of the country. As if I wasn’t silently slipping away from my personal life and everything I knew. Telling Simone had been out of necessity. I make a good living, but I am not independently wealthy by any means and I can’t afford to throw away what is not only my sole source of income, but a job I very much enjoy and built for myself over the last decade. Michael would be upset, maybe. We’ve been going out for almost a year, I supposed maybe I should’ve consulted him about my last minute whim. I can’t bring myself to feel that bad about it. He’s a good man, but there was never that spark, we both worked too much and didn’t make the time for each other that we should. It was debatable that we were even in a relationship since Alice died. I’ve been so strange and he’s been so distant. I called him after speaking with Simone, he didn’t pick up but I knew he wouldn’t. I left him a message, saying I was leaving, and then turned off my phone. I would handle what came, later.
The boarding call startles me out of my thoughts, I slide my laptop back into my bag and get myself back together. Getting in line with the other passengers, I look out the window at the drizzling rain- my last look at New York for now. The flight attendant checks everything and sends me through to the plane, taking a deep breath, I step through and into a life that is no longer the predictable one I know.