I remember that day very well. You were barely 11 years old. You woke up, never wanting this day to come, but it did. The clouds were grey, and casting over what seemed to be the whole world. You eat what was likely to be your last meal with your father and your siblings. Your mother is a 5-hour flight away, waiting for you. We get ready, finalise your packing. And take what will feel like the shortest ever drive to the airport in your life.
You check in your baggage and receive a little badge that reads Unaccompanied Minor, this excites you but not for long. We go window shopping together happily as a family around the airport until you hear something that snaps you back into reality. Last Call. We make our way finally to the departure gate. But, there isn’t enough time to say your proper goodbyes, the staff tries to rush the process. Though I’m sure it went our very smoothly and professionally, it felt like you were being forcefully dragged away from your father and siblings. You scream and wail, but no one does anything. You are quickly put into your seat on the plane where you will cry for most of the trip. You don’t even touch your food.
You land, and you see your mother in the arrival hall with your uncle and auntie. You stay silent. What’s there to say. You try your best to keep your chin up for the sake of your mother because you know that she could and would break down the minute you did. You dreadfully make small talk with everyone around, lying about how pleasant the flight was and that the food was great.But what you really want, is to go home. Well, it’s not home yet, but it will be.
The moment you’re home, your mother tries to talk to you, but you just cannot talk anymore. You go straight to your room, and you stay there for days, mostly sleeping and crying. Eventually, you will get used to living here. You make friends, you become a kid again. You optimistically hope for the crying to stop.
The crying never does, the frequency goes down exponentially, but it always finds a way to crawl up on you when you least expect it.
You never get over it. At least I haven’t yet at 25 years old.
Maybe soon, after all, it has only been 14 years.