Jan. 7 – Sink or Swim

Daily Prompt 7/365: Tell us about a time when you were left on your own, to fend for yourself in an overwhelming situation — on the job, at home, at school. What was the outcome?

Summer. A recent grad moves to one of her favorite cities with her best friend. The air is always warm, the days are long and full of possibility. She works hard on visa applications and finds it increasingly frustrating that the forms keep getting returned to her with no explanation of what’s missing. She goes to immigration to see what’s going on and hears the worst news imaginable:

Her visa has expired. She has to leave the United States immediately or face deportation.

Autumn. She watches the leaves darken, curl up and fall to the ground, as she curls herself around her shrinking life in the city. After a surreal weekend in London, the young woman returns to Maine with a 90-day clock ticking away the life she had started to build. 90 days to pack up her life, find her friend a new roommate, say goodbye to everyone she loves, and fly back to the country she no longer feels is home.

How is it, she thinks, that I am both leaving home and coming home at the same time?

Winter. After three months of staying with her aunt and uncle, and hundreds of hours spent job hunting, there is nothing. The young woman spends each day trawling through job applications, and each night trying to stave off the icy despair filling her chest. Finally, an old family friend offers her a place to stay in exchange for some childcare and housework. The young woman packs her things again and catches a train to a small village in the middle of Wales, nervous and excited for this new chapter.

They haven’t seen each other in seven years, but each needs something only the other can give.

Spring. As the months go on, the young woman feels more and more at home in her little cabin on her friend’s land. The small, humble life nourishes her as she comes to terms with everything she had to let go, and opens her heart to everything this new life has to offer. She feels herself unfurl as the air around her warms her skin.

You have to endure winter’s frost to see spring’s new life.

 

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