The low drone of dozens of voices speaking at once filled the room, the range of tone overlapping to create a strange kind of white noise that Chloe was usually oblivious to. Today it was like a hundred banshees wailing on a cliff as turbulent waves battered the stone face and she squeezed her eyes shut to fight off the urge to plug her ears.
Only 8 more hours until she would be getting on a plane and flying away; away from everyone who had expectations of her, had demands on her time and relied on her. For 14 glorious days she could focus solely on herself, she could swim and sleep and hike and breathe; she would have the time.
Glancing at the clock she sighed; 7 hours and 48 minutes to go.
The drive home was filled with so much sameness: the same songs on the radio, the same cars following the same route to the same home they always went to in order to do the same things they always did.
“How did I get here?” She asked herself, her voice incredulous in her own ears. There had been so much she had wanted to do and see and experience, and in her 39 years she’d barely scratched the surface of that great big world of wants.
Chloe walked through her front door and straight into her bedroom where her packed suitcase stood waiting, staring at her impatiently, and with a relieved smile she grabbed the handle and went out to wait for the taxi she’d pre-scheduled to take her to the airport.
Long flights, layovers and plane changes could do nothing to diminish Chloe’s excitement and with each mile of ocean that passed 35 thousand feet below her she felt more and more eager to be free of any routine. She wasn’t on the ground a full day before she was in the ocean, swimming slowly, letting the salt water seep into every pore, soaking up each new experience like a sponge.
Chloe spent her days hiking in the jungle, swimming and exploring the reefs that skirted the island, and trying every kind of new food she could find. Her spirit felt light and engaged and alive with each passing day and each experience. The unbridled joy and elation she felt flagged on the journey home, and with every mile of ocean that passed 35 thousand feet below her the memory of another responsibility came to her until it felt like the fleas of a thousand camels were biting at her brain.
When the plane landed in LA she rushed to the ticket counter and bought a ticket back to the island paradise from which she had just come; she couldn’t return to her old life without sacrificing her soul and that was a trade she wasn’t willing to make, she’d just send for her things and start a new routine.