Here is my latest assignment completed. The prompt was to write a short story with an airport, a couple (one person not wanting to be there) and a red suitcase.
The Carry on
By: Jessica Kennedy
The parking garage was dark and musty smelling. We were walking fast, making up for lost time. I was having a hard time keeping up. He was in such a rush, even though he had no desire to go on this trip. He was making that perfectly clear with his body language. I planned this whole trip. I forced him to take time away from his work. I booked the tickets and packed the bags. I knew that we needed to take this trip, more out of necessity than desire. I knew we had too. My mother instincts told me it was a matter of life or death. We had to save her.
She moved to LA when she was nineteen. She couldn’t wait to start her life out there. Coming from small town Vermont, she dreamed of warm weather, movie stars and living the high life. She dreamt of working in the movie industry. She was such a confident girl and was blossoming into a vivacious woman. I just knew she would do great things. She reminded me of myself in so many ways. Maybe it was wrong of me to let her go so willingly, but her dreams were contagious. I wanted her to achieve everything she ever wanted. I wanted her to do more with her life then I did. I wanted her life to be full of beautiful adventures. I willingly let me baby girl go.
I figured we would stay close, we always had. We were as close as mother and daughter could be. She told me everything and I as well. We were inseparable. I figured she would come home for holidays and I would go to visit her. It would be a great excuse to travel the country. I selfishly wanted her to go so I could get away from my life in Vermont. I had big dreams when I was her age. Dreams that never came to fruition, they were stifled by love and security.
I fell in love with a country boy. Born and raised. He was the kind of man that took care of his family the only way he knew how. I loved that about him. I came from poor beginnings. My parents were selfish. They lived their lives for themselves only, never really caring what happened to me or my four sisters. I was looking for a man who could take care of me and my family. He was good me, loved me and supported me. And when I had our girl, he loved her deeply. His love for her was obvious but he made it perfectly clear that her upbringing was my responsibility. He pictured his life and saw us in it, almost as extras in a play. He who had no desire to travel. His home was in Vermont.
He was raised to be a farmer and had no desire to change. He built his empire from the ground up and now owns the largest dairy farm within the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. His business is a success and had provided us with many luxuries I never thought possible, but yet I longed for more.
Her dreams brought me hope. I was a catalyst to her ambitions. I fuelled her fire. I helped her every step of the way. Maybe now in hindsight, I realize that I lived my life vicariously through her, but I truly only wanted the best for my beautiful daughter. The first few months were great, she called weekly, emailed me regularly and we mapped out spectacular plans for me to come down and help her decorate her new bachelor apartment. It seemed to be going peachy. After about four months, the calls became more infrequent. She stopped emailing me all together and when we did talk she was very secretive. I knew she was having a hard time finding work. I told her on many occasions that we could help her out, but she really wanted to pave her own way. I think her pride was holding her back from my assistance. A quality she got from her father.
She eventually convinced me to cancel my trip down, as she said she had gotten some work and was so incredibly busy that it would be pointless. She told me not to worry, Christmas was around the corner and she was coming home. That Christmas the northeast was hit with some incredible snowstorms. All flights were grounded and her trip home got cancelled. I got a sense that she was pleased for the cancelled trip.
Into the New Year, the distance between us widened. I was losing my baby girl. I tried to talk to her about it, but she pushed me farther away. She was keeping me at a distance for a reason. I just knew it. I did what I thought was right and hired a private investigator to find out more about my beautiful girl and what life she was living in LA.
It didn’t take long for him to find out what was going on. She was working at an exotic dance club as a dancer and she was partying quite often. She had fell into the wrong crowd. He reported drug use and excessive alcohol consumption. He told me that she appeared strung out most of the time. He showed me pictures of my girl and my heart broke. She had lost weight, her skin was pale and eyes were sunken. She had lost the life in her. She was a shell of her former self. I knew then and there that we needed to get to her and force her into rehab.
I booked the flight down and packed our bags and forced my husband to come. I needed him. He may be a stubborn man but he had skills that I did not possess. He got the job done. He did not take to the sudden trip well. When I told him that we were leaving the next day, he was furious. He told me that this was my responsibility and that she have never gone so far from home. He blamed me, telling me that I should have kept a better eye on her. His outburst made me nervous. What if he decided not come? What was I to do then? There was no way I could handle this on my own. I was failing alongside my daughter, a sinking ship. I needed his strong hand.
In the end, his love for her did win out. He choose to come but not happily. We had arrived at the airport with lots of time to spare. Always his way, he hated being rushed. We easily found our way to our check in. The hallways bustled with activity, it was all very overwhelming. We approached the tellers at the check in area. They took our suitcase. They tagged it and shipped it away. They told us that we could each have one carry on. He frowned and said no, as if it angered him that they even thought he would want one. I clutched her small red ‘Minnie Mouse’ suitcase to my chest. It was filled with beautiful memories of my daughter’s life. Newspaper clipping, photos, stories. Her life in mementos. It was to act like as a reminder of how bright of a future she is destined to have. A reminder that it is never too late to follow her dreams again. There was no way I was letting go of this. It was my life force, my carry on. It held the keys to opening my daughter’s heart and leading her away from a life of destruction.