My childhood years passed. My childhood memories passed. I passed. This passing link of who I was and who so heavily interwoven with the girl my mother saw me. And as the passing childhood void of nuisances of what a suburban childhood was; what refused to leave was that desperation that I needed to be free.

I needed to be free. I needed to leave the oppressive room with the endless rattle of the AC unit outside my childhood bedroom window. I spent many the days where I quietly opened the window, where I carefully removed the outside screen in order to not tear it as I gently would rest it in the ground below as I climbed out that very window, down the tree to the humidity wetness outside. I needed to leave that suffocating room with its piles of rubbish hiding the carpet stained underneath. I needed to leave the life half lived. I needed to leave that horrible bedroom door I had with all the punch marks and splinters of fights that rattled my bones. I needed to be free.

I spent years battling the fight against my parents to be allowed to flee as young as I possibly could from my childhood home. I researched what was required to apply for emancipation against my family. I filled up a scrap-book with pages of full scholarship acceptance letters and potential host family profiles who with smiles and spare bedrooms were offering to house me as pseudo parents at far away dance programs and boot camps in states up north. When my parents balked that being asking to live out of state was showing I was out of my mind I applied and was accepted into boarding schools only a three hour drive south of our home but still within the Floridian boulders.

‘You can visit me on weekends’, I argued.

‘I am so close’, I persisted.

But even as I yearned and plotted and planned my ways to escape; I also understood there was no me outside the four walls of my childhood home. Who was I without my mother’s all knowing hand shaping me? My parents said no to all of my protests. How could I dare to leave the nest when I had no wings to fly on? The arguments were ugly and violent as I screamed to be allowed to leave. I was terrified but I was also determined. I needed to be free. I needed to be free.

Seattle was a mysterious place. Seattle was a place I never knew existed before the summer where I was all sixteen teenager and all legs and limbs of a body. Seattle was a place I knew nothing about. I could not find it on a map if given a chance. I could not spin a globe and pinpoint its location. But when my ballet master spoke of Seattle and the top-tier ballet company residing there I knew I needed to go. I had to go. For no their reason then the hairs on the back of my neck begged to just go. I had to go.

So I left. I left it all. I left that childhood home. I left that childhood pet. I left that childhood yard. I left that childhood portrait. I left my lost childhood I never truly had. I left. Never turned back. And I left.

The suitcase felt too heavy as I wrestled it into the back of the share van shuttle departing from Sea-Tax airport. I was hung over on red-eye exhaustion from a cross-country plane ride with sleep aid over the counter medications lacing my veins. My in-depth research to prepare for my move consisted of an address to give the shuttle driver to drop me off at and where to locate the shuttle hub at the 3rd floor of the airport adjoining parking garage and not much else. I had been blissfully ignorant of the three-hour time change between east and west coast and how those added three hours would create a deadly combination of a long day with short patience.

It was too heavy my suitcase. I could not lift it. I wrestled it up an inch as it clattered loudly in the parking garage. I brushed my hair from my forehead and gritted my teeth as I squared my shoulders to try again. I am going to be 18. I left everyone. I left everything. I moved out. I dropped out of school. My dad so angry at my independence. He always held education in high esteem and when I waved goodbye and balked at college he turned his back on me in shame. My mom a mix of pride and doubt I could survive on my own. She was just as dependent on me as I was on her in our complicated love-hate, mother-daughter relationship. But everyone has a complicated mother-daughter relationship do they not? We fought like hell but the desperation terrified her just as much as it terrified me.

But damn it I was here. All my processions in one way too heavy, overstuffed suitcase, not even eighteen, thousands of miles from my childhood home. And my suitcase was too heavy to lift into the back of the shuttle van. I bite my lip to stop it from shaking. The shuttle van driver was young and concerned as he rounded the side of the van to the scene of me and my luggage a mess of emotion and failure. He smiled easily as he lifted my suitcase to the trunk.

‘Welcome to Seattle sweetheart’ he cooed as my cheeks blushed red.

I followed him up to the front passenger seat right next to him as he, with ease, settled into the driver’s seat. The rows behind me he had sat an elderly couple was busy mumbling about the space needle and duck rides as a city map lay unfolded on the woman’s well-worn lap. Behind them sat two single business men infatuated with their blackberry chunks of phones. They seeped with airs of importance in tailored suits. Not that important I thought to be sharing a shuttle van and not the private cars parked beside us. I wondered if any of my fellow passengers had watched through the tinted windows the embarrassing scene of me as I grunted and panicked with my bags at the curb. I felt the warm blush creep up my cheeks once again.

I turned to look out the front windshield and buckled the seatbelt across my lap. I on instinct loosened it away from hugging my hips as it, in my hyper nerves, was bringing awareness to my body covered in multiple layers of long sleeves and sweaters. I shivered although the dashboard temperature gauge read 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The driver smiled at me and I turned to match his gaze. He was cute. I was ugly. I nodded without smiling and looked away. I felt him stay staring at the nape of my neck just a second too long before he turned the ignition key to begin our journey.

How was I going to survive this if I can not even lift one suitcase?

Who was I kidding?