12/01/17 (transcribed from notebook)
I'm on the plane. Alejandro is sleeping. I fell asleep first (funny, not sleeping for an entire week makes you tired). I woke up and he's asleep so I'm taking advantage to once again question my life choices.
I got up this morning and, almost against my will, threw some clothes and toiletries into my carry-on. It was surprisingly easy. Apparently I had been mentally making, revising, and finalizing my packing list the whole time I was telling myself I wasn't going. Now I told myself that the fact that I was packing didn't mean that I was going. It only meant that I was still deciding.
Yeah, right. I was berating myself the whole way to school, lugging the bag. I thought about leaving it on the bus to rid myself of the temptation. But I dismissed that idea immediately. I need that stuff, and don't have money to replace it. I still had the most obvious option: say no.
No. It's one of the most important words in any language. And it's conveniently the same in English or Spanish.
Why was it lacking from my vocabulary today?
I wheeled the bag into school and knew my mistake. I tried to think of where I could stash it, but there was nowhere it would be safe from being stolen. Nowhere but the teacher's lounge, and that was no better than the classroom.
I knew what was going to happen the moment I wheeled the bag into class and saw Alex's eyes land on it. It was just for a few seconds, but those few seconds were the end of everything. Now what could I tell him? Even if I told him the truth - that I had only brought it in case, and I had actually decided not to go because it would be the absolutely worst idea in the history of my life, he would know that I brought the bag because I wanted to go with him. No words could change that.
And yet... and yet... I could have said no. I was thinking about it but I have resolved that I am not going, goodbye and I will lug my stupid bag all the way home now. That could have happened! I could have said that!
But I didn't. He didn't even ask, didn't even comment. He just said, murmured rather, "Let's go." And I went. Like a puppet.
The ride to the airport was one of the most excruciating moments of my life. Worse than finding out - only last week! - that he is married to someone else. Worse because that was his fault, and I could be mad at him for it. This was my fault. I was in a mess again, and it was of my choosing.
But the worst part was that doubt. That nagging in the back of my mind (my conscience? The Holy Spirit? The actual rational part of my brain that must have shrunken to the size of a pea?). It kept saying, "It's not too late! You can stop now! You can go back! There is still time to make right decision!"
On the walk out of the school with him. ("Don't! Go home!")
Waiting for the taxi. ("Go home!)
Getting in the taxi. ("Don't!")
Riding in the taxi. ("Tell it to stop!")
At the airport. ("Leave! Grab a taxi home! There are dozens of them! Just grab one!")
At the gate. ("Don't get on! DON'T GET ON")
In my seat. ("Get off! They haven't closed the doors yet!")
After they closed the doors. ("Tell them to let you off! Say it's an emergency! It is an emergency!")
And then we took off. I shoved that voice down every time. No rational response, just "La, la la la la, I'm not listening."
And now we are going to land in New Orleans. Iam back in the United States. I imagined this moment a lot. And it was never this airport, and never like this.
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