Grandma always said, if you want strawberries, plant strawberries. If you want radishes, plant radishes.
I had planted lemons. A whole orchard of lemons. But not the kind you could make lemonade with. Mine were hard and sour and impossible to squeeze anything good from. They came in the form of a terrible boss, a job I couldn’t stand, a dozen empty pints of ice cream care of my last ex and an apartment whose greatest accessory was the neighbor’s heavy metal music at 3 am.
Grandma also liked the one about making the bed you lay in. I wasn’t about to lay in this one any longer.
A static call blasted through the cavernous train station’s clunky intercom.
“Train 892 service to Richmond, now boarding Track 4.”
I sagged back into the hard plastic chair. My arms folded over my purse as my fingers traced the edges of my ticket.
Going back wasn’t how this was supposed to have turned out. New York was supposed to have been my start.
The first promising conversation with Mr. Preston rattled through my ears.
Assistant to the Producer had seemed a dream come true. But of course the job description had failed to include the 100 hour weeks, perpetually receiving the blame for everyone else’s terrible decisions and the daily task of wiping up the mess left from clashing egos. I guess I should have seen it coming. Everyone had warned me about how harsh it would be but hindsight is what it is.
I probably could have pressed through if Jeremy hadn’t been, well Jeremy. That soul draining bastard had been one of my worse mistakes. Sure he was cute, with smiles and charm to stretch a mile, but when the world stopped revolving around him, he was as supportive as a limp noodle.
The large board above my head flapped with old fashioned clacks that used to correspond with changing information. Now the digital panels blinked to move the departures up a row.
“Train 933, departing for Toledo, now boarding at Track 5.”
I let out a sigh and slung my purse over my shoulder. Standing, I jerked out the handle bars for the two suitcases at my feet. Around me a rush of other travelers headed out towards the tracks or poured into Union Station. Everyone managed to surge at the same rapid pace, like bees milling around a hive.
With a shake of my head I tipped my bags on to their wheels and merged into the flow.
I tried not to imagine my sisters face when I pulled up at her door.
She’d give me one of those maternal hugs she’s gotten so used to distributing to her kids. She’d probably have a fresh pie or still warm cookies on the stove and try to stuff me full of each confection. She prescribed to the Mary Poppin’s Teaspoon of sugar remedy.
Her guest room, however, was always made up with the puffiest pillows and blankets you could find in the mid-west and scented with lavender.
A lump of homesickness swelled in my stomach. I swallowed down the ache to be protected and cared for, if only for a while. I couldn’t stay with Sarah long, but I needed to start somewhere.
It was time to sow something new.