Monumental things have happened to me. So big, so incredible, so life-changing, that I’ve had to put it off and make sure that I do it justice in a post on the internet.
I took my first walk around my neighborhood. By myself.
I’m afraid that I’m not translating the importance of this event clearly, so I’ll elaborate—I, Jessica Sandoval, gathered important belongings, like water, music, my cellphone, house keys, and, admittedly, a Swiss army knife, told my mother I’d be back soon, and walked out of my door. My knees were shaking and I could feel my heart beating in my ears, but I still somehow walked off my property and out of the cul-de-sac, towards the park a few streets down.
I still don’t quite think I’m emphasizing enough on what this means to me—this means that my parents, who, for as long as I can remember asking, have denied my countless petitions to be able to go get the mail at the end of our street, fearing that I might get jumped on my way back, decided that I was able to go for a walk on my own. Sure, it was one o’clock in the afternoon and most people were off at work, but I still felt daring. And accomplished—I suddenly felt like a woman, like a grown-up, like I could truly defeat anything in my way.
I mean, I was walking the streets of my neighborhood on my own. Daredevil, rebel, dissident, serious business.
That day I wore a cardinal ribbon in my hair, a blue blouse, and shoes that reminded me of the seventies. I also wore my Lolita glasses (which I kick myself repeatedly for not photographing), which landed me a smile and a head nod from one of my neighbors while they were sweeping their driveway.
It was strange that I decided to take a walk, too—that morning I had woken up and stayed in bed until ten o’clock, a personal record. The laptop on my lap was burning a hole through the duvet. I glanced at my nightstand and noticed the three dry, crusty, empty mugs that once had hot chocolate or coffee. The house was silent. I could feel the fat and lazy cells building up inside me.
I whipped the covers off of me.
I didn’t take my camera because I didn’t want to weigh myself down with it, but I simply had to take this picture. I sat by myself on the solitary bench I found when I discovered I love the suburbs. I sprawled on it and started reading The Bell Jar. Everything was quiet, and I could hear the quiet in the air. The air was sticky and humid, but the soft breeze ruffled my shirt in a way that made me the sad kind of nostalgic.
When I was almost finished reading The Bell Jar, two girls walked past the bench, pushing their bicycles up the hill. They glanced at me and said “Hi!” They were about thirteen. I grinned and said “Hi!” back, and that I really liked their bikes (they had baskets on them, and baskets on bikes simply slay me). They said thank you and continued to walk. I heard one of them whisper “Did you see her heart glasses? I want some.”
I got up from the bench and, with wobbly knees, made my way back to my home.