Written by Winona Wardwell
Art by Tom Fisk
When the sun falls in a few years, I promise I will be somewhere else. I will be carrying a backpack on my back, wishing I hadn’t packed a third pair of jean shorts that can’t fold up like the rest of my clothes. I will be in Europe. And as the sun sets, I will be present in the moment. I will watch it fall beneath the beautiful medieval buildings or the rolling hills, but hopefully the ocean, looking out towards my home across the Atlantic Ocean. I will not remember this instant where I now dream of a different, faraway time.
I have a plan. I will fly into Naples, visit Pompeii, and take trains up through Europe with my best friend until we have reached the ocean once again. Then we will fly home and move into college, putting an end to this stage in our lives that is filled with regret and dissatisfaction. On this trip, I will leave my past behind and be adventurous and careless. I will create extravagant ridiculous good stories to tell future generations about the people I meet or the mistakes I made. And I will no doubt stay in hostels that are a bit sketchy, because, like always, I will be strapped for cash. I will take pictures on my dad’s camera, and I will pick up my phone only to answer my parents’ “How are you?” texts. I will ask people for directions and admire the Europeans, who seem to all know English while I struggle with their languages. I will walk everywhere and try to learn everything about places that seem majestic compared to my cookie-cutter neighborhood. I will begin to dread the days until the trip is over and grow moody at the airport, trying to stuff as much European delicacies as possible into my heavy backpack.
But for now, I sit at home and do what’s expected. I come home early and practice piano. I set the table and do the laundry. I finish my homework and feed the dog. In the rare moments of free time, I plan a trip to somewhere far away, and I count down the days until my plane leaves.