Monday, October 10, 2011

On My Own

I sat on the toilet, in the bathroom stall, bent over.   

I heaved, silently sobbing.  

The memory lingered.  I could see the scene now through my tears. 

The black car.  My godfather sitting in the driver's seat.  My mother and I standing nearby. 

"Okay, make me proud.  Be careful.  Study hard."  Her words. 

We hugged.  The anxious pit in my stomach lodged tight. 

It was just us for 17 years of my life.  She raised me on her own.  This would be the first time we would be living apart. 

She released me.  

She would head back to New York City and I would stay here in New Orleans and begin my first semester at Tulane University.  

I tried not to shake.  I held the tears that formed in my eyes in check as did she. 

My backbone, my support would not be there now. 

I was on my own. 

The memory faded as I bent my head again and cried silently. 

I was alone.  Would I make it? 


Two months later, I leaned against the phone booth. 

"It's good, Mom.  It's all good.  I'm doing great.  An A on my first test in Biology.  B on my first chem quiz.  I'm settled in here at the dorm." 

I nodded, taking in her last words.  

 I responded.  "Yes, I will.  I promise.  I'll talk to you soon.  Bye."

I hung up the phone and left the booth.  

I walked the long ornate hall of the girls' dormitory lobby towards the winding stairs at the end of the corridor.   

It was home to me now.  

A calm, settled feeling washed through me as I climbed the stairs, my dorm key in my hand.  

This piece is inspired by prompt from Write on Edge which asked to write a memoir post inspired by the statement "“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” - Stephen King, On Writing