It was very late at night, incredibly late. My mother was on her way to my flat with a taxi and I hadn't packed. I spent the night out on campus with people I never wanted to loose. It was one toast with Wayne, another with James and three or four with Jess. It was hugs from the footballers and a few more songs. A last dance with Ethan and he told me we'd always have the night sky.
Then we headed back to the flat. It took at least four people to help me pack. I left behind posters and blankets and bulky things from the dorm I could never get into my trunk. But somethings I left for them to remember me. I gave Jess my Grateful Dead shirt, the one I wore nearly daily. It had holes for my thumbs and was the softest thing ever created. I left Ethan my second favorite shirt, the one I found volunteering for the rescue mission. It was an ancient ringer that read "I *heart* Syracuse."
I didn't want to leave. I missed my family, but I knew no matter where I went they would always be behind me. I still feel that way. I miss them but I have them with me at all times. I fit at Essex a hundred times more than I fit at Fisher. I felt like I was tearing out a piece of myself and leaving it for no reason. I wanted to stay. But there was a magnet pulling me back home with greater force. No one thing was enough to return to NY, but the combination was incredibly powerful.
I had dropped off the face of the Earth to entire groups of people I cared about. I had disappeared, somewhat intentionally, for almost a year. Now I had to go back and resurface. It was going to be a shock. My house was different, my family was different and my second home at Fisher was completely different. The thought of having to pick up the pieces at home and rebuild my life was daunting. I wanted to stay. I knew I was doomed in love and life at home. But I had to face it just as a ship can't ignore a set anchor if it wants to sail on.
In terms of hindsight, that trip back was an absolute schism in my timeline.
We finally got everything into a bag. Jess lent me some luggage. I hauled it down to the taxi stand to meet Mom. She was long overdue back in the U.S. Her long hiatus from our family made her anxious and guilt filled. Not that she didn't enjoy it, she did.
Travis was waiting for me at the airport in Syracuse with Dad. They both looked different. Mom and I surrendered to them in our weary. Two women coming home to face two men they once truly loved. Everything changes in time.