follow the yellow brick road

it was another pack-til-the-last-minute, stay-up-all-day-and-night, overdose-on-caffeine move, but it was wonderful (or at least more wonderful than the break-down-crying-on-the-side-of-the-road trip we had down to dallas).

this time the journey was made easier with the help of aaron’s trusty old friend, adderall extended-release, and by the addition of angelo, his younger brother. the two quirky italians hadn’t seen each other in over a year and had plenty of catching up to do; needless to say, there were very few silent moments during the drive. we were able to keep ourselves awake and entertained by coming up with interesting questions. for example: if you had to have one animal body part, what would it be and why? i said i’d take the wings of marahute, the giant golden eagle from the rescuers down under, because duh.

it wasn’t until we crossed into kansas around 4 in the morning that we all started to feel a bit sluggish. the caffeine was wearing off, and we were forced to get a bit more creative (and, at times, uncomfortably personal) with our questions.

somehow the topic of faith, specifically christianity, came up amid some rather odd “would you rather” questions (that i’ve since forgotten, but clearly recall being odd); the boys spoke of how the church they grew up in had negatively impacted them and their views on christ-followers and christianity as a whole.

it hurt to hear how badly they felt they had been messed up by what their church had taught. they were made to feel dirty and ashamed when they would (inevitably) slip up and be less than perfect, as humans always do; they didn’t seem to know the loving, forgiving god i did.

we sat quietly for a few minutes. i don’t think anyone knew what to say.

the early morning light seemed to take longer than usual to greet us; the hills and the plains and the dark, black night felt endless. the starlight above was so dim, i could barely make out the clouds that were rolling by. when we were half an hour from “home,” the sky turned a muted, misty grey-blue, and sleet and snow began falling so hard we could barely see the road in front of us.

when the brothers finally switched places, aaron rested his head, closed his eyes, and was out like a light. liam joined the party right as we pulled into angelo’s driveway; it was another successful drive-through-the-night, not-mess-liam’s-sleep-schedule-up move. we thanked angelo for all of his help and said goodnight (at 8 in the morning).

being back, driving through our home town and seeing all the old familiar places, i had a hard time believing we had been gone for over a year. we had left and returned during winter; everything still looked the same; nothing had changed.

it almost felt as though we had never even left — as though i had just woken from a long, vivid dream and everything i thought i had experienced the past 384 days wasn’t true.

but it was true. it did happen.

and walking through my parents’ door, running down the stairs to find my emerald green room and melt into my white cloud of a bed, was true. this — being home — was really happening.

“there’s no place like home.
there’s no place like home.
there’s no place like home.”

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