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6.7.17, or Flyaway Birthday

It’s too early.

That’s what I was thinking as I was shaken awake by my mom, singing to me softly “Happy Birthday”. My little sister and roommate, Jessica, was awake by then. Already, her footsteps were bounding up the stairs to make sure she packed in her iPad while grouchy ol’ me was still snuggled up in her Snoopy blanket.

I quickly changed and packed up my toiletries and electronics within the span of 10 minutes, before calling an Uber to the doorstep of my apartment. The problem is, getting a car into the community was practically impossible without a key into the gated community. Frantically, I glared at my sister to take my phone, before grabbing the garbage bag and hauled it up the 40 degree incline to the communal dump.

As I was trekking up the mountain that was my community, I could feel the sun’s UV rays penetrating my pallor countenance: the result of a year spent studying and staying indoors from having no social life of note. The birds were twittering, the sky was blue, and it was the closest thing to a perfect day that stormy week.

“Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…” I hummed as I chucked the bag into the garbage bin before running back down to the apartment.

Thank god my little sister had common sense in telling my parents that our Uber was coming. I got back to the apartment just in time to see my parents and Uber driver loading our luggage into the car. Backpack: check. Luggage packed with clothes that I probably won’t wear: check. Phone 100%? Eh, close enough.

I took in a sigh of relief as my mom chatted with our Uber driver. We were driving to the airport, a solid 15 minutes away from the house. Checking my watch, I noted that we were about an hour ahead of schedule. Our schedule that day consisted of popping in and out of airports and airplanes, only to end up in Rome the next day due to time zones. Joy. I was already tired from having to wake up at 7:30 in the morning, but traveling just made me anxious in general. Schedules and appointed times! Lack of food and a good chunk taken out of my birthday in general! Can’t wait.

Throughout the entire fiasco, a smile lit up my face as I scrolled through my birthday wishes from my friends back at home in Illinois, with a few from Austin sprinkled in. I appreciated the fact that my friends still remembered me and spared the time to give some kind words, even though I haven’t seen them in person in a year, at least.

I still miss them just as much as I did when I left.

I want to go home. I want to-

I shook my head, clearing those thoughts from my mind, before grabbing my sister to go buy some snacks for our flight to Rome.

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