Post Flight

After one of the most annoying and ulcer-inducing travel experiences of my life, I finally arrive home. It looks different. The furniture is rearranged. My stuff is boxed up in storage. Scamp licks me hello and then bites me, but some things never change.
I feel like a zombie. Partly from physical exhaustion, not having gotten an actual night’s sleep in over 48 hours, but mostly from emotional exhaustion. Saying goodbye to my friends. Crying. Replaying having said goodbye over and over in my mind. Crying again. Crying on takeoff. Crying on touchdown. Crying when Justin picks me up and asks, “How was your trip?”
I take a nap while watching Planet Earth. I wake up groggy and way too late to hope to fix my sleep schedule to America Human Time. We drive to Blockbuster right before it closes (midnight) to pick up a free video game Justin has a coupon for. My choice. I don’t even know what’s out. I think about texting Kevin, who reads video game blogs like it’s sustenance, but he’s asleep. And, you know, 2,000 miles away.
I walk into the store. The twentysomethings behind the counter barely look up, and I catch myself staring at them, wondering why they didn’t welcome me. Not necessarily with a loud “irashaimase,” but, you know, SOMEthing. That’s weird. It’s stupid to think you’ve changed so much in just a year.
I pick up a game I remembered hearing about months ago. A man comes up to me and says, “Excuse me, miss?” and I jump, and think I’ve done something wrong. I’m definitely not used to strangers striking up conversations. Especially at midnight, especially in the Valley.
“Do you know what this movie’s about?” He holds up “Angels in America.” There’s no plot synopsis on the back.
“Yeah, we did the play in college. It’s really depressing. It’s about AIDS, I think.”
“Oh, I don’t need depressing. I’m depressed enough. I mean, I’m not really depressed depressed. I just come here for entertainment, you know?”
I wonder if he’s going to stab me. He wanders off.
We check out. I thank the lady behind the counter, and she looks at me funny, almost like she’s just giving me a video, no big deal. Or maybe I’m misreading her. We walk to the car. I turn to Justin. “Wait, maybe I mixed up my plays. I wonder if that’s the right one. All the plays I saw in college were about AIDS. Should I go back?”
“I think you’ll be okay.”
Then we drive home on the wrong side of the road.

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