I Don’t Wanna be an Adult

Aug 2, 2014 12:59 pm

If my heart keeps beating like this I’m gonna have a heart attack.  Deep breath, deep breath.  Every car I hear pass my house I run to my window to throw back my curtains to see if he’s here yet, see if his new shiny black Chevy Charger is pulling up to take me to the train station.  I’ll pace up and down my room and repeat the cycle for at least ten more cars.  Geeze when did the quiet neighborhood get so busy?

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Dad’s here!  Shit, can’t let mom and him get near each other; they’ll just scream at each other.  Hurry down the hall with my body tingling in nervousness and excitement, lugging the suitcase I carefully packed for this trip beside me.  It scrapes against the wall a bit.

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 His car still smells new, smells like new red leather seats.  Radio fills the silence after going through the plan three times.  Get to the Harrisburg station, buy the ticket for the 3:20 train bound to New Brunswick, stay at the boyfriends for 2 days, come home on a 10:35 morning train back to Harrisburg where dad will pick me up and take me to work at 5.  Solid plan.  Nothing could possibly go wrong.

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Aug 2, 2014 1:47 pm

Huge orange station.  Not what I was expecting.  I was expecting it to open air, like the trolley.  It was dim.  And loud.  The echo from the sheer size of the building didn’t help either.

“I need a ticket to New Brunswick.”

“I’m sorry we don’t have any trains going to New Brunswick today.” The snooty black ticket lady replies.

“Oh….”  But…  The website said there was a train….  What the hell…?

“I can get you a ticket to Philadelphia at 2:20 and then you’d have a one hour layover.”

“Ok, we’ll do that.” Dad comes in to safe me from my fumble.

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Aug 2, 2014 2:20 pm

Give dad one last hug, try to keep the terrified tears from spilling out.  Shove through the noisy crowd to the door.  Try not to fumble down the escalator with the suitcase while pushing down the fear that threatens to overtake me.  Deep breath.  Deep breath.  On my own now.  Pick a seat and sit down in a cove of seats, hoping that no one sits next to me.  That won’t last long.  Next stop two black ladies speaking some langue I don’t understand join me.  I’ll just sit here, still pushing down that fear, and read my book, keeping my back to them.

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Aug 2, 2014 4:05 pm

Finally here.  And whoa….  This place is huge!  Again, not what I was expecting.  I feel like I should have been in a government building.  Or a mansion.  Shiny brown marble floors.  Tall Greek pillars that could have been as tall and thick as a California redwood.  The sheer size threatens to overwhelm my tiny stature.  Got an hour to kill, time to read and watch a bride and her black dressed bridesmaids get pictures taken with a gorgeous backdrop.

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Aug 2, 2014 5:14 pm

The board of trains noisily change, flipping through numbers and letters.  Every time it changes, I have to check.  Is my train here?  No.  Gotta keep pushing that fear down.  My trains supposed to be here at 5:18.  Where’s my train?  Time to ask for help.

“I’m sorry your train isn’t supposed to be here for another two days.”  At least this black lady was nice and helpful.

“Oh…”

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My heart suddenly turns to iron and plummets to the floor.

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I knew it…  I knew it.  I knew it.  I knew it.  I knew it.  I knew something wrong would happen.  Now that nightmare has come true.

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I’m all alone.  Suddenly I’m a child.  No, I’m not ready to be an adult, don’t wanna.

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“Here’s what you can do.  Go to the ticket booth and get a refund for this ticket.  Then switch to Septa.  Get a train to Trenton.  From there get a train to New Brunswick.”

The lady must have taken pity on me when she saw the tears well up.  One sobbing call to my dad and one panicked call to my boyfriend later, I had my refund and was Septa bound.  Thank you higher power of the universe for making the timing as close as possible.

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Aug 2, 2014 5:40.

Made it just in time.   Now this is what I thought of when I thought train platform.  Open air with a tinted blue roof that curved above my head.  Monitors hanging flashing when the train will arrive and people sitting on the concrete floor or on rough benches like me. Another call to dad calmed my frazzled nerves until the train showed up, loud and blowing my hair into my mouth as I said goodbye.

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When you get to Trenton switch to New Jersey transit.  There’s a train that leaves 10 minutes after you arrive.  Thank you boyfriend for looking and planning ahead.

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Aug 2, 2014. 6:36 pm

Sprint down to the ticket booth, luggage rolling noisily behind me, after security guards point me in the right direction.  With heart nearly jumping out of my rib cage I board the train just before the doors shut.  Whew.  Really cuttin it close…  I’ll just stare out the window as the train clatters by and listen to the train attendant telling jokes in his Jersey accent.  Yup, I’m in Jersey all right.

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Aug 2, 2014.  7:07 pm

The sun’s nearly set and we finally pull into New Brunswick.  I pass my boyfriend and his father, who stood waiting for me on the platform, on the train.  My brain considers sneaking up on him and tackling him.  My legs put a quick stop to that.  I trudge my way over, feeling drained of every emotion except somehow I manage to muster up some happiness and relief, finally receiving that treasure I had gone on this journey for.  A soft hug from the man I love and to spend two whole days with his family away from mine.

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I don’t know if I’ll ever take a train again…

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