California Freedom

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The light that caught her most profound cheekbones bounced off the slanted structures that so elegantly shaped her rigid face. It caught fire to her hair- which shown, gleaming through the sunrays that melted the worlds heart. On this particular day, Fiona’s locks that danced beneath the heat and flew above the boiling core of Earth, symbolized an unusual type of freedom; one that she never expected California to carry.
Its why she was here in the first place. To obtain the freedom she’d always dreamed of. The freedom that waves carried in their careess tossings atop crooked rocks and coarse sand. The freedom seagulla boasted of while soaring high above the chaos- swinging left and right with pleasure- simple satisfaction. Sweet satisfaction. The little things- uncomparable to those little, snappy remarks her parents always snarled under their breath- were the keys to a good life. For Fiona, the little things sounded like a hummingbirds flapping their wings 3,000 times a second- the vibration of their delicate selves, the sight of flowers- tall, vibrant ones that sung with the wind- and laughed amongst themselves in pure delight, and the smell of bitter sweetness- something you could find in California. Before now, Fiona felt so distant from the little things. Nothing in New York was little, only the size zero models that stomped around the streets like they owned them. So just like the seagulls, one day, Fiona decided that she too could fly away. And that’s exactly what she did. She flew until she smelt a bitter sweetness.
Salt and orange. It was the first smell of many that permeated through the depths of Fiona’s nose- a nose of a k9. Her senses were so keen. She was in a foreign place, with foreign people, speaking in foreign tones and using foreign words. Her sensitivity had reached an entirely new level and she was on a high.

Fiona landed in LAX. When she got off of the shuttle, picked up her bags, and slid into a taxi, she felt the freedom she had been searching for. The city life was over. She was off to San Diego where she would look for a small apartment overlooking the beach. Fiona was determined to get away from her parents and the shelter in which they raised her. It was in that shelter that Fiona was given everything a girl could be given. Spoiled rotten- just like any other New York City girl, but anything she wanted wasn’t everything she got, in fact it was nothing. Her opinions, ideas, perspective, and overall understanding of life had no reflection of the way her parents thought they had raised her. “If you leave your kid at home with the nanny, do you really think they will never turn the TV on?” She thought while staring out of the winding- enjoying the new view. Her taxi driver looked back, “Lot of your mind, girl?” he hollered. “A lot off my mind”, she replied confidently. He smiled. “Looks like your ready for a change”, he said. “More than a change, a do-over”, her honesty didn’t startle him- it was a nice try though, she thought. Fiona didn’t really want to talk to the man about her life, or what happened. That’s why she came here, right? To start a new life, to live amongst new people, in a new place- where no one new anything.

“What happened? Parents kicked you out? You seem like a city kid. Them city girls are wild. Wouldn’t doubt it.”, he was saying things out loud he shouldn’t have. His thoughts spilling over like a five year old in a grocery store, overwhelmed by the opinions of the people coming to their head, speaking of them all aloud. “Not wild. That would be my parents. The ones that didn’t kick me out. The ones that spoiled me so until I literally became spoiled.”, she thought about what she had just said. “Am I spoiled, literally? Fiona, stop being so hard on yourself, and stop talking to yourself”, she was flustered by the overlapping conversation between herself and the unusually nosy taxi driver. New York City taxi drivers pick you up and drop you off. It’s a world of secrets over there. Everyone looks content- like their life if perfect. And then you really get to know someone- and if your like my ex, you’ll tell the whole world about everything you know.
“That’s where life went downhill”, Fiona pondered. “What? Downhill? Child you don’t know nothing about downhill till you go to San Fran”, he chuckled at his own joke. She didn’t get it. “Why are you spilling things out now, Fionna”, she scolded herself in embarrassment. Fionna was too hard on herself. It had always been like that, but when James told all of his friends what she was doing when no one was looking, she was even more paranoid about what people thought of her.
“Yeah dude she takes them every night- its like she’s got a seriously weird problem, I’m not trying to date a girl who wants to kill herself. What kind of guy would I look like if she drops dead one night after overdosing on the xanies I gave her. I’m out man”. Fiona sat crying in the stairway. She couldn’t believe that she was actually on her way to pass James’ classroom and tell him to meet her in the hall just so she could give him a kiss, and now he was telling everyone about her deepest secret. Fionna laid her head back in the back seat of the taxi, replaying and reliving that time. It wasn’t until Mrs. Donlon walked into the stairway that she found Fiona having an anxiety attack and spilling out anything she ever knew that things really, really went downhill. “You must’ve had a rough time out there” the taxi driver said. “Yeah, going to rehab wasn’t too fun- especially when the bigger drug addict- my boyfriend and supplier- never even said goodbye, apologized, or got help.” She replied. “It’s a long ride, why don’t I let you tell me everything”. The man offered. “You’ll never sit back and replay that story again, those memories will be spoken, not felt” he offered his help again. “I know what a movie from hell feels like when it reels through your head so many times that you feel like you’ll explode if you never see it on a flat screen.”, he laughed again, at his own lame joke, but Fionna found security and comfort in it. “You’ll never guess this one of a New York City sheltered, spoiled girl- you think you can handle it?” She joked back. “As long as its high def.” They continued to smile back and forth- she found so much relief in meeting someone new. Someone without secrets. Without lies. Fionna began to tell her story and it started a little something like this, “Damn California must be giving me a whole new sense of freedom..”.





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