It’s me Jane, I know it has been years since we last spoke. Frankly I can’t even remember the things we use to talk about in my adolescent days. Oh god I do not even want to know what I use to tell you, those long teenage days full of immature thoughts. Truth be told I miss you; I miss our long one-way conversations; I miss you letting me vent about my hissy fits. I never thought I would come back to you at this age, but I need you now more than ever. A lot has changed since we last spoke, so let me catch up as much as I can.
When we last spoke, I was 18 graduating high school, thinking I was all grown and everything. I was getting ready to leave our beloved hometown of Bedford, Virginia where I left you behind. I did not think it would be a cool first impression for a college kid to have a diary, not something to brag about. So, I left you behind before I engaged in what I thought would be the beginning of adulthood. I remember eagerly packing up all my things in boxes, jumping dancing with joy as I looked at my acceptance letters. I was packing before I even decided what school I was going to; I laugh now thinking about it. Never did I think I would ever leave our small town; never did I think I would ever escape that life. I told mom about the schools I was accepted to, but as always, she could have cared less if I stayed or left. But we both know she could not wait for me to leave her house and her presence. Always wondered why she never loved me, why even have me. Well glossing over that, I always knew if I left Bedford I wanted to be in a big city. I wanted that lifestyle where the city never sleeps, and the lights are always on. You know like how we use to look at the magazines and see all those humongous buildings, with all those pretty lights. The people dressed in the fanciest clothes, going to the finest restaurants and just living the city life. Oh, how I dreamed of that city life, but it always seemed so far from my reach.
I finally decided to go to Saint John’s university in New York, what better city to be in than NY if you want the city life. No one from Bedford understood why I decided to go so far, all my classmates were either staying in the state or in the south. I of course had to be the odd one to go so far from home, but to me Bedford was never home. I never truly understood what a home was supposed to feel like, was it supposed to be cold, dark and lonely. Because that was what home felt like to me, and frankly I could not wait to see the back of it. I could not wait to leave that small town for the big dreams I wanted to accomplish. every week I remember telling mom that I was going to New York just to get her attention, to no avail she would just shrug. A 3.8 GPA, Honors society, multiple awards and a scholarship could not get the attention of my mother. In truth all I ever wanted was a “good job I am proud of you” but who was I kidding we both know that would never happen. I do remember her acknowledging my move to NY after I mentioned it once more, her response still rings in my ear until this day “so when are you out of here”. Ouch, that hit harder than any slap she ever landed on my face.
Oh diary, I know I am probably boring you with all these details so I will speed it up. Couple of months passed since my acceptance to Saint John’s, the day finally came for me to move. All the boxes I packed were basically left behind, all that packing and then I realized that I did not want to bring any memories from this hopeless town. I told myself I was going to leave that life behind and never look back. It would be a distant memory that I would forget, in NY I was going to start a new life of my own choice. Next thing you know I was on the bus getting ready for a 12-hour ride to my new life. Oh, did I mentioned when I tried to say my goodbye to mother, she answered “make sure you don’t come back”. That should have been another ouch moment, but from all the verbal abuse over the years it didn’t hit like it should. It just reminded me never to come back to this place I should have called home.
I fell asleep on the bus just so the ride could be faster, just like we use to do on our bus rides to school. The only difference is I was so excited about my destination this time, I had all these images of what NY was like and what I could be there. I kept closing my eyes and smiling like a damn fool, it was as if something was waiting there for me. A ride has never felt so long, I kept creeping up thinking “I have to be close right” but it was all the adrenaline from excitement. What felt like lightyears passed by before I saw a sign that said, “welcome to New York” and I almost jumped out of my seat. The bus was not completely full, but still a couple of people side eyed me for my excitement. They had no idea the furthest I had ever gone in my life was a ride to school, this was as if I was going to another country. My heart was rapidly beating, palms sweating and my breathing heavy as can be. You can say I was pretty excited; the sad part was I had no one to enjoy this with. It hit me pretty clear at that moment that I was all alone, no one to look after me it was just…………ME. Nothing can ever prepare a person for loneliness, I could tell in such a large state, with so many people in its cities that I would be completely alone. Excitement quickly turned into panic, but there was no turning back now this is the life I chose to live now.
The bus came to a full stop at the station, people were rushing out grabbing bags in a hurry. While I sat down unable to move a bit, I am not sure if I was nervous or scared or even both. All I know is at that moment I was as afraid as I have ever been, what I dreamed of for so long was right in front of me. Right outside that door was what I was fantasizing about for so long and now that it was here, I had cold feet. I had to get up at a certain point, everyone else left the bus and I was the only one left. The bus driver gave me a look with a raised eyebrow “um miss you going to get out or?” he said waiting for me to respond. “oh yeah, I apologize um I just was you know” no he did not know, my voice as squeaky as it has ever been. I quickly rose to my feet and made steps towards the door of the bus; every step felt like I was walking on cement. I finally made it to the door took 2 deep breaths then stepped right out, as I stepped out, they already took the 2 suitcases I brought with me out of the bus.
I took a deep breath to take in the New York smell, and my God was it horrid. It might have been the worst foul smell I had ever encountered, a mixture of days old urine and body odor lingered in the air. As I looked around all I could see was massive amounts of people moving at the fastest speed, dirty floors and walls surrounded the station. Homeless people filled the rest of the area, loud chatter everywhere and that smell still lingered. This was not the New York we saw in the magazines or on television, this was something completely different. Cursing and foul language were part of every other sentence, people bumping each other without as much as an excuse me or an I’m sorry. No one looked happy or even stopped to acknowledge someone’s presence, it was as if everyone were stuck in their own world. I quickly realized how far away I was from Virginia where everyone greeted each other, where no foul language was ever tolerated. I was so far away from where I came from, but I had yet to fully realize it.
I picked up my 2 suitcases to see where I should head next, signs pointing at every direction. I could not even muster up the courage to dare stop anyone for directions, so I kept looking up at the signs while everyone zoomed passed me. I finally noticed a signed that said “to street” so I decided to gamble and follow that.
Oh dear, I just realized how late it is.
Well diary, I will have to finishing catching you up tomorrow.