I wake up early in the morning from three alarms and get myself ready. I have my hair bands on my arms and I fumble with my hair only to suddenly try something different.
I’m wearing it down today.
I then proceed to walk the ten minutes to the mall on the border of two countries and wait impatiently for the stores to open. In the meantime my phone is brimming with messages I don’t get on a normal basis.
People want to see me. I walk through the stores and some of my favorite songs are playing and people start turning heads. One young man’s eyes lock with mine and he smiles. I smile back but disappear before he can say anything.
I regret that. Honestly.
I then am picked up by some friends to go to a beach I lived my childhood in. Its nothing like the black sand beaches of home but a beach is a beach and today I feel bold.
My hair is down and I’m not wearing board shorts. I’m walking around and a kind young man starts a conversation with me and I throw it back at him. Were laughing and joking and I begin to realize it’s easier than I thought. Maybe I can be confident.
My friends say goodbye to me and put me on a train where I sit in front of a college student who plays tennis and is too thin for his own good. No conversation is made but he shakes my chair a lot throughout the ride. I’m pretty sure he’s unaware of the disturbance he’s causing me and I’m too shy to say anything. He gets off before I do and I realize that in the three hours I was on the train I could have tried to say something.
I mean that’s what this trip was for. For me to find my voice in a foreign state.
I get off the train and am peddled by a man. I pretend I am a French traveler and I wave down a random car so that it looks like I’m leaving. Its about midnight and my ride finally shows up and it’s a teary-eyed reunion.
I’m not four anymore. I’m almost twenty-one but they only see and remember me as a four-year-old and that’s fine. I’m growing up.