I fill a pillowcase with the essentials, leaving a few coins out for my mother’s troubles, and am off. It’s a satisfying feeling walking through a town and knowing that you’ll never return. I need a boat, but I’d be foolish to try and get away with anything more than a small dingy. A crew would only hinder, and who in this town would want to join me? They can barely see past the bills balanced on their noses. A frayed rope and a good dash towards the water are enough to propel me out and into what will become my new life. And that’s it. A stronger resolve, a bit of thievery, and an overpowering desire are all it took. I am free and they are not. They’ll be in school, struggling through math and metrics and monotony. I’ll be here, leaping from wave to wave. A stranger in paradise.
I decide to say hello and let the sail loose. Days pass, weeks, months, years, my lifetime. And it’s exactly as I dreamed. The ocean fills every corner of me. Raising my spirits and washing over every tarnished and hurtful memory. And then it happens. There’s something, out in the endless. Drifting and bobbing, sinking and drowning. When I’m close enough to reach it with my oar, the weeds and muck float away to reveal the one thing that I thought I was farthest from. A girl, face down in my freedom, coughing up my salvation. And in that moment, the ocean abandons me. . .