We were on our way back from the park, laughing and chasing after birds, talking about the things kids talk about.
“Wait, Sam!...What do you wanna be when you grow up?” We had begun to race each other home but you made me stop when you realized you weren’t going to win.
“I want to travel the world.”
“I asked what you wanted to be.”
“That’s where I want to be.”
“Am I gonna come with you?”
17 Years Later
“Samantha! Come here, Marnie’s on the phone!” my mom yelled.
I walked over to my mom chatting on the landline, twirling her finger with the cord. It made me happy to see them like that, after all these years, still best friends.
“Okay, I’ll talk to her about it. Okay— yeah, bye love!”
“Talk to me about what?” I asked.
My mom turned to me and took a deep breath as if she knew an argument would ensue. “Lucas has spontaneously decided to take a trip around the world, and Marnie and I think it would be a good idea if you join him. He’s leaving tomorrow.”
My stomach dropped. I wanted to laugh but it was too random to be a joke. I opened my mouth but struggled to piece words together. I gaped at her until I finally found some. “I can’t just drop everything and travel the globe with a complete stranger!”
“Stranger?” she said incredulously. “It’s Lucas! You’ve known him your entire life!”
And he’s still a stranger to me, I thought. But I said, “How could I even afford that? I’m still paying off my college loans!”
“We’ll figure it out: you guys will be splitting housing costs and... Honestly, I don’t really know...,” she admitted. “But I know that you need this, Samantha. And if you don’t go, you’ll regret it. You’ve been in some sort of funk this past year. I see you! I know that you’re bored with life. You barely go out anymore, you’re 23 with a part-time job that pays minimum wage, and you still live at home. You’re lost, and I think this adventure could be really good for you.”
I wanted to cry because I knew she was right and it hurt. That year wasn’t my best. I wasn’t sad so much as I was unhappy. With everything. But I had found a way to manage and now, all of a sudden, I was given an opportunity for everything to change. I’d have to readjust all over again. The truth was, I didn’t want to wake up another morning in my same bed, in the same room, in the same tired town. But there was no guarantee I wouldn’t feel the same way a month later, in a hotel an ocean away. I didn’t actually know what I wanted in that moment, there were too many thoughts going through my head, but I figured I would give my mom an answer and figure out how I felt about it later.