It all started the summer after my senior year of high school, I told my parents that instead of heading off to Harvard this fall I was going to defer enrollment for an entire year so I could go to Haiti with a relief program to help build houses and when that was over I was going to spend the rest of my time backpacking around Europe. I had hardly finished telling my parents and they were already on the phone with the Harvard admissions office, they were so convinced they were going to make me go to school in the fall, but I had already talked to Harvard about the deferment and I was scheduled to enroll in the 2010-2011 freshmen year of Harvard undergrad program. My parents were such control freaks they had to be in charge of EVERYTHING and if they weren't they just hated the idea of whatever it was and since this was a year long trip out of the country lets just say it didn't exactly go as I had hoped it would. My parents sat me down and at first they tried the whole "we understand that you want to be adventurous, but right now we're going to totally patronize you and undermine all that responsibility you've earned because well, we just want to" speech. When I called them out on completely being the most disrespectful people and just ignoring the fact that I wasn't going out of the country to be an international party girl and they shouldn't even have to worry about that because I'm their daughter and they raised me to be better than that I finally thought I had them, that I was really going to be able to leave the country and travel and explore and discover who I was they pulled out the timeless excuse that goes right for the jugular of any childs hopes and dreams "You're not going because I said so" and that was it the end of my adventure that had never even began. Well at least it was the end of plan A, you see I was a 18 year old kid who had just graduated from an inner city public school, and one of the first lessons you learn with strict parents is always try the truth first and if by some miracle they let you do whatever it is, no problem. But when they don't go for the truth, you lie. You lie and tell them that yeah what a crazy idea it was and then do it anyway but don't get caught, you have to be sneaky. So I told my parents that going to Haiti wasn't even in my power anymore, I had told my friend Jessica, whose mom was a big shot at Habitat for Humanity that I would be able to go to Haiti this summer for a month to help rebuild houses and play with all the orphaned little children. The story was one of the worst lies I had ever told them, I had weaved a complicated web of lies that they didn't understand. I left that next week for Haiti but instead of returning to Boston on July 16 I was going to take a flight from Haiti straight to Rome where my journey would begin. After that I didn't really have a plan, remember what I said: naïve? I wasn't sure how long I would actually be gone, maybe a week ,maybe 10 days, maybe 10 years. Maybe I won't even want to go to Harvard or college at all maybe I could just be a professional back packer. Well none of that really mattered because the trip never happened and it wasn't because my parents found out or anything. The night before I had left for Haiti my parents had warmed up to the idea of letting me go to Haiti because it was for charity and they wouldn't give up any chance to have a chance to brag to their friends at the country club about how their "genius daughter was going to Haiti to rebuild houses for little orphans out of the goodness of her heart and then return home and head off to Harvard in the fall and be the surgeon we've always dreamed of". My parents decided to take me out to dinner a nice small "bon voyage" at this cute little mod restaurant downtown. Well I arrived at the party to see that my parents idea of a small get together was to invite half of the city. There was a big "bon voyage" sign hanging from the ceiling I sat at the head of the table. It was to say the least extremely embarrassing. Half of the people there I didn't even know, I guess people my parents worked with, people who just knew my parents and had to show up and make the appearance. And my, I guess you would call them friends, showed up. I had known these girls my entire life. We went to school together from kindergarten to senior year, we used to be really close but as time goes by people drift apart and as I got older I realized that I was traveling down a very different path than them, they wanted young guys, old money, big houses, and small dogs. And for the first time in my life I wanted something real, I wanted something different, something that was me. I sat with them and chatted, well actually they chatted, I was merely an onlooker, an audience, someone to listen to their great summer plans in the Hamptons, yeah those Hamptons... to this day it still amazes me how they can be so shallow and so oblivious to the fact that I could have really cared less about whatever she was talking about. For everyday that was leading up to the trip I kept feeling more and more guilty, about all the lies, sneaking around. It was starting to get to me and I couldn't take it. It was keeping me up at night making my stomach toss and turn just thinking about the consequences made my head throb and my stomach lurch. Even though I was scared out of my mind and probably committable, there was no doubt in my mind that I doing it. The party lasted until about midnight and everyone was starting to leave I told my parents I was going to spend some time with my friends before the big trip and then I'd be home soon and then went and told my friends I was leaving with my parents to get a good night sleep because "the flight is super early and you know first class is no place to get a good night's sleep" fake smile and head for the door. I just needed some time by myself and little space to think. I stepped out of the restaurant and onto the small side street, I turned the corner and I was standing in the middle of downtown Boston. Standing there the in the cool summer night, I realized what I was dreading the most about leaving, not my family or my friends, but this beautiful city. It's rich history, the beaches, everything about it captivated me and made me want to stand still for forever on the middle of a busy city sidewalk and just watch all the people bustle past me, places to be people to meet. You never knew where they were going or what they were doing but just standing there gave me this wonderful energy, like you got somewhere to be something to be doing because you're important so keep moving and you'll be here someday. It's hard to describe, but the hustle and bustle of a city is like my own personal high, something I don't quite understand but something I am absolutely addicted too. It hadn't hit me 'til that moment that I was leaving behind the city that meant everything in the world to me. So I did what I thought would help me remember exactly that moment so I could help myself remember later on, I took a deep breath in and closed my eyes I heard the slight breeze whiz around my still body, the occasional leaf or paper or some stray object off in the distance run across the pavement, I heard the honking of a cab, a car door slamming, clothes whipping around on a clothes line, the smell of the nearby ocean. I slowly opened my eyes realizing that I wasn't sure that I could do this anymore. What if something happened to me? I guess this was the panic I had been dreading, the panic I knew that would eventually set in, during the realization of what I had been planning for the past couple of months was real and that it was actually going to happen. I felt like I couldn't breathe, my throat tightening then my hearing goes all I hear is the rush of blood running through my veins. My eyes darting around like a crazy person, what had I done? What was I doing? "MOVE!" A young guy said heading straight for me with crates of fresh fish that needed to be frozen until tomorrow mornings fish market opened. "Sorry, I...sorry" I stammered, but he was already gone. Like I said places to be people to meet. I decided to take a train to the beach even though it was like 12:30 and the only people on trains at this time of night were drunk people and the homeless looking for some warmth. I strolled down the steps onto the platform and saw that the usual guitar players and jewelery sellers had vanished replaced by fat old men drinking from bottles wrapped with brown paper bags and cloudy eyes. The train came just as I reached the last step. I hopped on and enjoyed the ride. The whizzing and jerking of the train felt relaxing and calm. Something about it reminded me of a different time, before my father's career accelerated from paralegal to full blown high class attorney at law. I remember when my mom would have to take me on two trains just to get to her job downtown working at a department store where she brought me every single day. I remember my dad coming from work so late I could wake up after already being put to bed to sit with him as he ate his dinner. I remember that it was tough at times to keep food on the table and birthdays and Christmas's consisted of a lot of homemade trinkets and cards and maybe one store bought doll with all hand made clothes my mother had created. But I also remember looking at my parents and being really happy, and so were they, they never fought over money or anything for that matter, when things got tough they would say "tomorrow is never promised, so lets just get through today". About the time I was six or seven our luck had changed and it went from Southey projects to north end penthouse in the blink of an eye. Then the fighting lying and suspicions started. Now my dad likes to say "more money, more problems" funny, all people want is a nice house lots of money a loving family but what they don't realize when you look back getting to that point is more than half the fun, when you finally get there you look back and realize you just wasted the majority of your life striving for one moment of happiness and then the rest of the time is spent striving to go back and change everything, just enjoy what you have when you have because everything can change in the blink of an eye. I got off at a station close to the neighborhood I grew up in and headed toward the beach. This wasn't one of those beaches you see on commercials or movies, but it was my beach, it was my castle, it was my south American jungle it had endless possibilities to what it could be at least that's what I used to think when I was younger. The beach was deserted so I found a spot not to far from the water and plopped down in the sand I looked out at the beautiful water and sighed, then laid down and stared at the sky. If your lucky on clear nights the stars shine really bright, a rarity with the city lights ablaze 24/7. The waves lulled me to sleep as the wind enveloped me into darkness. I awoke with a start at the sound of a dog barking. I jerked upward cracking my neck in the process to see a young couple taking a dog for a walk. After realizing where I was I jumped up sandy party dress and all and started to sprint toward the nearest train station. The first thing I did was call my parents, my mom answered the phone frantically "where the hell are you" she barked "we have been worried sick, and you missed your flight, which you have some explaining to do on that one darling because I called Jessica's mom and she informed me that you still haven't bought a flight home yet. How did you think you were going to get home?" "Sorry mom" I squeaked with sleep still in my voice " I spent the night at Tracy's with some girls, sorry I didn't shoot you a text, honest mistake" I didn't mention the flight home hoping that all my ass kissing was working she would forget about it. "I know honey I called Tracy and she told me the whole story, I'm sorry too, you know me, I get frantic when I don't know where you are well me and dad aren't going to be able to take you to the airport today since you already missed the first departure of the day. I got you a ticket for 3:00 instead and when you land Jessica will be there to meet you." I could tell by her tone that she was doing something else as she was talking to me and was shocked she was taking this whole situation so well and props to Tracy, mental note: send her thank you text. "Well darling, daddy left you an international phone on the counter with some other essentials you probably forgot to pack, and your new ticket info is right beside, look sweet heart I love you but I have a meeting with some of the girls from the club about our next function that absolutely cannot miss so this is our farewell. Just think of it as a long weekend, you will only be gone two weeks and you will be home before you know it" Wow, I have some really concerned parents don't I? "okay mom that's not a problem, I can get myself to and from an airport without much trouble well tell dad that I said I love you, and mom I love you and I am going to miss you bunches!" I said meaning every bit of it "I love you too Haley very much so take care of yourself and take those pills on the counter so you don't get sick and I can love you for a very long time!" she said in a matter of a fact tone. "aye-aye captain, love you bye!" I said ending the conversation on a light quick note "love you bye" and a click ended the call. I put my phone in my pocket and sighed heavily. Thank god that talk was over with. I wouldn't be able to handle a goodbye that was in person. I was actually surprised at how easy that call was, maybe last night I had overreacted and I really was ready for this trip. So I headed home, I sent a quick text to Tracy saying "Thanks for covering for me, 'preciate it girl lots of love:)" She had always covered for people no matter what, her parents were never in town, I mean I have known Tracy since middle school and not once have I ever seen her parents not even a picture so when some freaked out mom calls looking for there kid but there just out getting drunk Tracy covers for them. As I was jumping in the shower my phone shook on the counter with a new text waiting for me it read "no prob girl, wat r friends 4? u gona hang tonite Justin's?" I was feeling more and more and confident about my plans and my courage to actually do it I decided to tease "oh that's tonite? Well sorry but I can't im running away 3:00 sorry, but it was nice knowing ya ;)" all I got back was "haha very funny" I took a long shower not knowing when my next one was going to be and checked and rechecked all of my suitcases and made sure I had everything I could possibly need. During my preparations I had even googled survival techniques while backpacking and made sure I had all these random objects like tweezers and floss just in case I needed to make and impromptu booby trap. When I was sure I had everything I went into my room and made sure everything about my secret trip was shredded or deleted from my computer, except for a copy of my flight confirmation from Haiti to Rome.