Leaving The Nest

September 25, 2009
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My legs were on fire. My heart pounded harder and harder until my sonorous pulse drowned out every other sound in the world. This was my heaven. If I ignored the agony in my hamstrings and ankles, I was completely at peace. The serenity of my own beating heart and heavy breath had always calmed me.
In this state of mind, my thoughts were translucent, a pool of water perfectly still. If I was confused about my emotions in the baffling realm of reality with all it’s noise and commotion, I would go for a run in the state park or maybe on a trail in the woods and instantly see what my conscious mind could not. I’d tried to explain this to my mother, when she had erroneously accused me of being addicted to exercise. Of course she didn’t understand.
My lips formed around a guttural sound of annoyance. I bet she could understand, if she tried. My mother was so captious of everything, and anything that was outside of her “normal” standard was unacceptable for a fine young lady like me.
My stomach turned as my mind, now set free of my control, remembered her lecture when I had first told her my intentions for next year.
“Soccer!? You want to play soccer for a living?” She had pressed her hands to her temples in chagrin.
I had waited patiently, watching as she lifted her head back up to look me in the eyes. I could see that she was waiting, waiting for me to shake my head in epiphany and stammer out that I didn’t know what I was thinking and wanted to pursue the career of a lawyer or doctor. But I wouldn’t, and I returned her glare, my somber eyes gleaming in determination.
“Katherine, this is folly! How many times have I told you that smart people chose reliable careers? What if you get hurt? How will you support yourself then? What happens when you get too old and they replace you with some energetic youth?” Her tone is final, scolding me softly.
But she can’t hide the truth. I saw it there in her eyes.
“That’s not what you’re thinking mom. I know it,” I had sighed as my words ate away at me, “You don’t believe in me.”
If I said that I had expected her to deny such an outrageous statement and pull me to her in comfort, I would be lying through my teeth. Her reaction didn’t perplex me in the slightest.
Her perfect, dark pink mouth had dropped open and her black eyes had popped wide. After a prolonged pause, she had smoothed out her features in an impeccable poker face.
“Honey, there are just so many other girls who want to play. It’s a gamble, and your stakes are so low.” She had grabbed my hand then, “I just want you to have success in life.”
I shook my head now, clearing away the memory. My eyes had glazed over with moisture, and I wished I could sit down by the side of the road for a while and sob. Instead, I pushed on, thinking instead on my plan.
It doesn’t matter what she thinks, I consoled myself firmly, she can’t stop me. I won’t let her.
No, I had a plan. I had stayed up late every night for months now, sneaking out to run to the athletic field in our elite neighborhood with my soccer ball. Drilling, practicing, running over and over and over. By now I was convinced I could shoot a penalty in my sleep.
I had researched, too. I had browsed and scanned through lists and websites of all colleges with excellent soccer teams and their scholarship requirements. I had applied for many of them, and scouts had come to watch me play on my high schools team. I didn’t have to worry about my mom finding out. It’s not like she attended any of my games anyway.
I brushed a lock of my too-curly, dark hair away from my face; it had routinely slipped away from the tight braid I constricted it to.
My thoughts sped up with my heart. I just have to get out of here, away from this bustle and pressure. My mom wanted me to stay in Boston. In her perfect world I would go to Harvard. It was an excellent school, one that she could brag about with her manicurist and book club friends. And, bonus, I would be near by home, so she could come visit every weekend. She could still control my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love my mom. I love her independence and her hard spirit. I loved the stubbornness that was passed on to me. But it was time that I started to live my life; make my own choices. I wasn’t a five year old asking for a pony or to grow up and be a princess.
Tears threatened to break the even rhythm of my run again as I thought of how I would hurt her. How heartbroken and disconsolate her eyes would be for weeks, maybe months. I would call her the very next day and she would scream and lecture and then she would weep bitterly, each teardrop and broken sigh would push the knife of guilt deeper and deeper into my heart until it cracked. But that was better than staying here, a bird with her wing cut in a kind woman’s care.
You have to, you have to. I chanted it over and over, each word pulling me closer and closer to the surface, my life jacket on a stormy sea. Finally, as my heartbeat reached its climax, I was floating again, halcyon and serene. Resolved.
A bittersweet smile played on my lips as I rounded the corner to my large, immaculate home. I glanced down at my Mickey Mouse wristwatch. My time was shorter than usual, but I had to stop now. I had packing to do.
I left the house with the early hours of the morning, while the sun was still hidden behind a dull blue sky. I pussyfooted about the wooden floors, making as little sound as I could. My keys were retrieved from the key tree and my jacket pulled over my soccer jersey. My bags overflowed in the trunk and backseat of my hand-me-down car.
My note of explanation and farewell for now was placed over my mother’s glasses that lay by her alarm clock. A pregnant tear had dropped onto it the night before when I had scrawled out my love for her and had blotched the ink. I knew she would notice.
It was silent as I drove away from Boston, heading steadily down to Duke, my college choice. I didn’t dare turn on the radio, I was much to overwhelmed with the feelings of freedom and exhaustion bombarding my brain. But as the colors of pink and orange and red splotched the clouds and sky, I spoke for the first time in hours. It was to no one really, more like a confirmation to myself.
“Sunrise” I whispered. The sunrise of my life as an adult.
I paused for a moment, and then cachinnation filled the small car as I realized how incredibly cliché that was.

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This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

Shandler said...
Nov. 26, 2009 at 7:17 pm
Obsessed with soccer much, Mikaela??
It's Shay, if you haven't realized yet ^_^
It's great, really, amazing. I wish I was half as good a writer as you, puppet.
Mikki-bug<3 replied...
Nov. 29, 2009 at 8:14 pm
AHHHHHH SHAY HI haha. Soccer rocks your socks and you know it!
Shandler replied...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 7:59 pm
Too bad I'm not wearing any socks. . .
No, but seriously, your amazing.
Mikki-bug<3 replied...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm
Yeah Yeah, whatever. Haha check out my quote on my page ;-)
Shandler replied...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 7:26 pm
Nice, but you might have sent a couple angry Texans our way. . .
Mikki-bug<3 replied...
Dec. 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm
Oh let them come. Ohians can kick but any day. ;-) [To all Texans, no real offense]
mocha said...
Oct. 25, 2009 at 4:04 am
Empathy. It's a great work. Love the struggle of emotions.
Mikki-bug<3 replied...
Nov. 5, 2009 at 8:39 pm
Thanks for commenting :-)
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