Neatly folding my gauzy swimsuit coverup, I tucked it into the corner of the suitcase and sighed. I had done it. Every square inch of the oversized cheetah print rolling case was occupied by a perfectly coordinated sandal, blouse or handbag.
The notion that I was overpacking briefly crossed my mind before fading away. Sure, I would only be in San Diego for a handful of days, but as I saw it, I had to be prepared for anything. After all, this was the trip I’d been pining for— a relaxing respite by the ocean. If I felt it necessary to cram every item I could think of into a suitcase that would consequently become too heavy to lug down the stairs, why not just go with it?
I laughed to myself as I riffled through the muck and mess of my desk drawer in search of a luggage lock. All this fuss over a trip I had not too long ago felt lukewarm about! It’s true; when the opportunity to travel to the all too familiar beach town was initially presented to me, I had accepted it, but not without strong apprehension. It was certainly no coincidence to be offered a free trip to California right on the heels of being instructed to “go home”, but this was also a trip I’d wished to avoid— permanently.
My relationship with my home state has been rocky for many years. Though it is the land of my birth, a physical manifestation of all that I hold dear, and the primary backdrop to my most treasured memories in life, it is also the final resting place of my naivety. It was during my last visit to the Golden State that I had my rose-colored glasses slapped clean off my face. My friends were not my friends. My family was not my family. My life, as I knew it, had been exposed as a well orchestrated lie. It hurt to finally see the truth about the people I loved, so I left, vowing to never return.
Everything and everyone was gone. I was emotionally homeless.