Chapter Twenty-Six

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As I stepped onto the plane, I didn't look back. I knew there was a whole lot I was leaving behind—Kimberly, my family who I was on slightly better terms with. And Charlie. I knew I was risking losing everything, especially him, and he might have just been perfect for me.

In fact, I was pretty convinced that he was.

But the timing was so, so wrong, and there was nothing I could do to change that.

Right now, I needed to get my head sorted out. I needed to work out where I was, who I was. I needed to 'find myself'—whatever that meant. I didn't know who I was if not the 'dying girl' and I needed to figure that out or I would be stuck in a rut forever. Being here, among all the mistakes I'd made, just wasn't the place to do that.

I'd travelled before, but that was all about seeing all that I wanted to see before it was too late. This was going to be about taking time, really looking, really enjoying myself. If it took a month to do that, great! If it took three years and everyone else had forgotten about me, then I guess that would mean another clean slate to start again. I'd completely wrecked the first clean slate I had; maybe I would do better the second time around.

I sat in my seat, trying to keep my breathing steady. I didn't want the poor sucker that had to sit next to me to think I was a nervous flyer. This wasn't about that, this was excitement to escape. I'd surrounded myself in toxicity; I'd pushed away everyone that I cared about, screwed up all my positive, happy relationships. I'd been on a slippery slope ever since I found out that I was going to live, and since that was a fact that I couldn't change, it was time to do something about it.

I allowed all the memories off the mistakes I made to flick through my mind. After all, part of the healing process was going to be about accepting what I did, and where I went wrong. Owning my mistakes. I couldn't even begin to move on until I'd done that. If my therapy group had taught me one thing, it was that. But I wouldn't get stuck on all of my issues, I'd just accept them as a part of my past—in the way that Devon did. I would do all of that, then I would move on. 

The engine rumbled beneath me. We were moving, finally.

'Thank you, Kimberly.' I muttered under my breath. She was the only one who'd stuck by me through thick and thin, who'd pushed me to do better, to move on, to take a chance. If it hadn't been for her, then I wouldn't have made it this far. I'd still be in a dive bar somewhere, looking for the next loser to show me some attention. She always told me that I was better than that, and maybe it was time for me to start listening to her. There were a million times when she could have blown me off, since she owned me nothing, but she hadn't, and I was sure even this break wouldn't be enough to wreck our solid friendship.

The familiar nausea rushed through me as we rose, but it felt really positive. This time as I went up, it wasn't because it was my last few months alive. It was because I had a life, one that I needed to take into my own hands.

I couldn't wait to discover more of me. I really felt like I was using my mum and Carter's money wisely with this trip—not that she had completely agreed with me. I felt like I would come out of it with a better idea of what to do next. I intended to return with a dream to work towards, but even if that didn't happen I knew I'd be better off for it.

"Where are you going?" The friendly-looking elderly woman sat next to me asked.

"Italy, to start with." I smiled back, eager to get there now, to see what Rome and Venice had to offer me. I'd been looking at pictures online, and it looked amazing. I couldn't wait to see it all in real life. The coliseum, the canals...it all looked so beautiful and I couldn't wait for it to inspire me.

"Ah." She grinned. "A finding yourself trip!" She laughed at her little joke and I couldn't help but join in.

"Something like that." I replied, before turning back to stare out of the window.

Exactly like that.

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