I think my head-banging and a large iced coffee may have ended up saving my life.
By the time I got on the train, my headache was excruciating. I just sat there the whole time, looking at the seat ahead of me. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t listen to music. I couldn’t think of any of the ways I could have fucked myself up by knocking on my mother’s door. I couldn’t do anything.
By the time I arrived and my friend picked me up, I was exhausted. I took a pill, which helped a little bit with the pain in my head, but it was still very much there. I decided to pick up some food and just stay in while my friend went out for a few hours. I was still processing my emotions from earlier in the day. I wrote for a little, trying to get out some of my feelings. Then I just laid on the couch and stared at the ceiling, in some sort of numb state.
Despite my exhaustion, I couldn’t sleep well. I ended up passing out after midnight and waking up some time after 3 AM, unable to fall back to sleep. The massive headache was still there. In a few hours, we were out the door and on the way to the test site so I could take my GRE, which ended up being a disaster. I was running on no breakfast, very little sleep, and a massive headache. I think I read each question three or four times and I still didn’t understand half the shit that was being asked. I sat there for four hours completely mentally dead. I couldn’t even answer all of the questions in time. I’m not even sure I really cared.
I walked to a coffee shop to wait for my friend to get out of work and pick me up. I ordered a large iced coffee, because I knew I had to kill a lot of time waiting. I watched dozens of people walk in and out. I saw teenagers come in, by themselves, and walk out, by themselves. Then I thought about how I never had that freedom before. Here I was, sitting by myself, in a coffee shop, completely free to do whatever I wanted to do. There was no one with me. There was no one outside waiting in the car, watching every thing that I did. I was free.
After a couple of hours, my friend picked me up. As he was driving, we passed by the place where I used to live. I froze for a minute, and then I started to cry. There was my prison. The place I spent more than 29 years of my life, 29+ years of pain and hurt. If I were living there, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy that iced coffee I just drank two hours before, alone, with no one watching over me. I wouldn’t have been free.
So while I made the return to my home city of origin, that ended up being the closest I got to that place that was once called home. In that moment, I realized I couldn’t give up the freedom I finally had. While I may at one point need to return to that same city, I could never return to that building. I would be much better without a home at all, then back in the prison my parents believed home should be.