My life was about to change forever. I had said goodbye to him, and we knew, just like that: we would never see each other again. I had gotten onto that plane with a dress in my bag for his funeral, but he never could keep his promises. Although it was not the goodbye I was expecting, it felt like a death all the same.
I hailed a cab back home in the middle of the night. The only person who would've picked me up at that hour was the one I'd just said goodbye to. An old Lebanese woman was driving, and there was a young boy in the front seat, but she motioned for me to hop in anyways.
"Can I smoke in here?"
"You're such a pretty girl, why do you smoke?"
"Bad habit, I suppose."
"I know why you smoke. It's because you think too much."
"You know what, you're absolutely right."
"You should do what I do."
"What's your secret?"
"When I start thinking too much, I just go to sleep. You cannot think when you are asleep."
There was a freedom in knowing I had lost everything. The reason no one was picking me up from the airport in the middle of the night was because I was about to be kicked out of my home. It doesn't feel right calling it "home," I suppose, since it never really felt like one, despite our best efforts. I'd made my bed and now I had to sleep in it. I had fucked up the bed, and now I wasn't allowed to sleep in it.
I was intrigued by the boy in the front seat. I thought for a minute he might be the cab driver's son. I asked where he was going.
"To the Jersey Academy."
"Boarding school, in South Bend."
"Why a boarding school?"
"I got expelled from my last school."
I couldn't help but chuckle. I'd secretly always wanted to be expelled.
"That's so punk rock."
"Yeah, I guess," he said, with a crooked grin.
"So what'd you do?"
His face darkened. "Just pissed a lot of people off, I suppose. Mom sent me out here."
I nodded, understanding that this was as much as he wanted to share. There was silence until the cabbie dropped him off. He pulled out his one large suitcase and began dragging it to the front of the dark school. How did a 16 year old boy and a 22 year old girl have no one but this cab driver to pick them up in the middle of the night?
"It gets better, kid. I promise."
It's the only thing to say, when you've reached that age where you know it won't. He nodded as I got in the front seat.
"Just one more. Before I go to sleep."