Hello, it’s day 15, and you know what that means? We’re officially halfway through the November Writing Challenge! This prompt is recapturing a long-lost feeling, and this resonates with me so much. Thanks to Tim, once again, for the prompt.
I remembered the memories as though it was yesterday – Jeanette pouring extra hollandaise sauce over her prawn and pineapple pasta, and myself making remarks of disgust at her strange eating combinations as I ate my very normal pizza.
I remember my caffeinated self at early morning, partaking in banter before a work shift, the Metro lines being super-efficient. I missed it all, especially that feeling of freedom, looking over the city from a vantage point.
I remember the time myself and Adam argued because we had different ways to name a bread bun (seriously, what is a barm cake?). Needless to say, we couldn’t come to an agreement.
I remember the cake days with Jeanette, tasting the moistest of cakes that I’d ever experienced, watching as the people went about their day, wearing tank tops in the searing October heat.
I remember the parties and drinking at The Wall, where we would all relax and socialise before or after (or during) our workdays.
I remember the cable car adventures that I went on, that feeling of accomplishment and wonder.
I remember setting up the campfire on the beach so the crew could have that token beach moment with the beautiful sunset. It was one of the most carefree times of my life, where we sat, drank beer and listened to some questionable music. And I didn’t have to worry about getting home to serve others.
I always had this knot in my stomach whenever I thought about it, and it became my happy place. I always found it cheesy when I saw people moving abroad and claiming to have ‘found themselves’, but I knew what they were getting at – I knew that they were totally right.
I would have stayed, had it not been for my uncle’s death. It hit our family hard, and it was too sudden. One thing led to another, and the opportunity to return never arrived. As things became more dangerous for me at home, I longed for that freedom. A part of me had wished I’d stayed. It was too late. I told work that I’d come back when I was mentally better – but I never was. Instead, I kept that part of my life archived.
I walked through the blistering cold of the rain and wind in mid-November, a year after my return. Since moving out of my parents’ house, I felt better about myself, both physically and mentally. I felt that for the first time in a year, I had everything together.
But I was still here, looking at my computer screen, on Ryanair’s website.
I fiddled with an aglet of my jacket as I searched for flight prices – fidgeting is an awkward habit of mine that I kept through my childhood into adulthood. I knew I needed to hit the ‘Buy’ button on that website to buy the ticket.
And so I did.
I just wanted the holiday, to return to where I found myself. I bought two tickets – one for myself, and the second so that I could show my love the place where I found myself.
Three months later, we were on the flight out, and I felt at peace as I looked down at the view of the city, hand-in-hand with my love.
Stepping off the plane had only confirmed what I needed at that time, and I had achieved it. I wanted to recapture that feeling of freedom. There was the fear of the idea being quixotic, but I needed to at least have that chance to feel that same way one more time.
While my love was getting settled in the hotel, I stopped outside to the park that I used to frequent. It was such a stunning area, with a variety of plant and wildlife, as well as a gazebo in the middle. I took a seat on one of the empty benches, watching as the people went by, children playing, some groups screaming excitedly at their phones.
‘Bem-vindo a casa,’ I whispered to myself, leaning back in the bench.