CHAPTER 2

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"YES, mom. For the billionth time; I'm sure that I packed EVERYTHING!"

Exasperated, I shake my head.

Mom puts her hands up in mock defense. "I'm just making sure, as you clearly aren't bothered."

I chuckle at the special emphasis on 'clearly'.

"And don't you use that tone with me, young lady. Trust me, you'll thank me later. Now go and check the house again for any of your things lying around."

I huff dramatically and go back inside the house.

Five minutes later, I emerge from the house with my bag of toiletries in hand.

I grin sheepishly at mom, who is giving me an I-told-you-so look paired with her deadly we-wouldn't-even-have-had-to-waste-so-much-time-if-you-had-just-listened-to-me glare. I mouth a 'thank you' and quickly stuff the bag into my red suitcase.

As mom presses the button for the elevator, I throw one last look at our apartment. Our home. My home.

A wave of emotions hits me like a punch to the gut. I have lived in this house practically my whole life.

Snippets of memories resurface in my mind.

Me, at 5 years old, covering all the walls of the house with scribbles and drawings.

My parents chasing and playing games with me.

Teetering around the house with my little feet in my mother's heels.

Me, in my teenage years, laughing with my family at dinner.

Watching movies and crying on the couch.

Make-up sessions and shopping sprees with my mom.

Leaving it is hard but the excitement and eagerness for the future overpower everything else.

I will leave a piece of me behind but I'm positive that I will finally find myself in my dream city.

Sure, I'll miss this, but I have a whole new world ahead of me- new places to explore, new people to meet, new memories to make.

Thinking about it makes me jittery with nerves and elated at the same time.

"Aanya, hurry up!" my mother's voice brings me back from my reverie.

I take a deep breath to control the surging emotions inside of me.

"It's going to be a hell of a ride," I whisper to myself and swing my backpack over my shoulder. I spin on my heels and join my mom inside the elevator.

Just as the doors of the elevator are about to close, mom's hand shoots out to stop them.

"But, you are absolutely sure you didn't leave anything behind?"

"Mom!" I burst out laughing and she soon joins in.

***

All through the ride to the airport, my nose is glued to the window of the car. As if trying to commit every detail to memory, I drink in all the sights of the crowded streets of New Delhi.

The long way to the airport seems to take no time at all today and we arrive soon.

I unload my suitcase from the car's boot and turn around to face my parents.

"I guess this is it," I say.

Mom instantly launches into her list of instructions for me.

"Call me as soon as your plane lands. Keep yourself hydrated."

"Yes, I wi-"

"Lock your suitcase properly." She continues, not noticing my response. "Oh, and eat on time. I've packed some food for you, make sure you finish that and keep the rest in the freezer for later."

"Mom, there's like a year's worth of food in here. I will-"

"Have fun, it's time you loosen up." She rambles on. "But not so much so, that you forget who you are and where-"

I cut her off mid-sentence as I tackle her in a hug.

I rest my chin on her shoulder and wrap my arms around her tightly

"I'll miss you, mom", I whisper.

That's all it took to set off the waterworks.

"Okay, do I not get a hug?" Dad interjects before it turns into a whole bawling session.

We sniffle and chuckle. I hold out my other arm and dad joins our little huddle.

"I can't believe my little girl's all grown up." My dad says, his voice breaking.

"Okay, okay, that's enough." I break away and wipe my tears. "If we don't stop now, I won't be in any state to leave."

As we regain our composure, I see my father nodding to my mother, as if beckoning her to do something.

"Oh yeah, before I forget." Mom pulls a rectangular box out of her purse. "I want you to have this."

She hands me the box. It was a long, simple box covered with faded red velvet. I gently pry the clasp open.

Lying inside is a locket, a simple chain with a pendant shaped in the form of a flower. It's bronze petals are folded inward, seemingly held together by a small ruby. It created an elegant and antique look.

I delicately take the locket out. "Wow," I breathe. "It's beautiful."

"It was my mother's." Dad smiled. "I wanted to give you a going-away gift and I knew this would be perfect."

"Dad! You didn't have to." I throw my arms around him.

"I know I didn't have to," he chuckles. "I wanted to."

"A little something to remember us by. We all know you're going to forget about us as soon as your plane lands in the US." Mom interjects, joking.

I slip the locket on and the pendant settles in the dip between my collarbones.

"You know that's not true." My fingers fumble with the clasp and finally fasten it.

I catch sight of the time on my wristwatch. "Okay, now I really need to leave or they won't let me in."

I wrap my arms around them again and start walking back to the airport, my eyes locked onto my parents, until the image of them frantically waving at me, falls out of sight.

Getting through the long lines of security and baggage checking take up to an hour due to it being the rush hours on a weekend, I finally make it to the waiting lounge. My flight begins boarding in two hours or so, and I make myself comfortable in a seat and settle down with a book, nervousness bubbling inside my stomach.

***

Two books, a Netflix binge and hours of sleep later, my flight lands in Detroit, Michigan.

Eager to stretch my sore muscles after a long twenty-one hours, I hurry and make my way off the plane.

Skipping the last two steps of the makeshift stairs, I jump to the ground in excitement.

As soon as my feet hit the ground, an enormous jolt runs through me- from my feet to my head- jostling me completely. I lose my equilibrium and fall towards the ground as if being pulled towards it.


Author's note

I'm so sorry for the delay in updating, please don't hate me. *hides behind a giant rock*

I've just been caught up in my exams and a lot had been going on, so I'm sorry guys.

Warning: I don't have an update schedule, especially because I'm in the10th grade now. So, updates will be irregular. But I will try my best, so...

Thanks for reading! Vote, comment, and share!

Lots of love,

Muskaan❤️

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