It doesn’t feel any different than nineteen, eighteen, seventeen. Except for the fact I’m sitting in the front seat of my parents van, my dog on my lap, tirelessly staring out the window and enjoying the feeling of contentment.

I feel no older, I look no older, but I know that something clicked inside of me.

“My daughter, she just turned  twenty, she’s going to ____.”

My mother says to any normal stranger in the distance. She beams, I choke on the inside. Considering the situation I was in before and my relationship with both parents. I can feel something strange in their voice, almost pride. Yet they won’t tell me and I won’t let them know I know.

I had to say hello for the first time in over a year and in less than a week another goodbye. This one was the most difficult; the dogs remembered me, but couldn’t remember why. Now they never wanted me to leave.

My parents as well, as they wave down the driveway, I can see tears welling up in their eyes. The pride is leaking out of them. My own follows suit and suddenly it hits me: I’m now twenty years old and I’m glad it’s raining so nobody could see me cry.

I cry for a good thirty minutes in the solitude of my room, arms and legs sprawled out in pain and my face is contorted in emotion. It hurts so much to say goodbye, and I say it so often in my life.

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