It was an average day for Angelica. She was awoken by her mother screaming in Greek, telling her to get up for school. It wasn’t always a chore to go, but she felt more tired than usual. She had many friends at Newark Academy that she felt at home when she would go. Her passion was photography, capturing the beauty of the world in a single photo. She swung her legs around her bed and slowly stood up. She felt as if something was missing today. It was an emptiness that she could not explain. She threw on some leggings, a pale green sweatshirt she got in Sweden, and some Nike running shoes. Typically, she would dress up for school. She would wear some light jeans with a cropped, ruffled shirt, but today was not one of those days.
“Mom! Where are my keys? I’m going to be late for class, Jesus.” Angelica said to her mother.
“Min me fonázeis! Your father needed to get work done on it. Take my car!” She responded in her typical blasting voice.
“O, ti na ‘nai.” She said as she walked out of the door.
She put the keys in her pocket, as her mom’s car did not require you to insert them into a slot. Usually she loved to drive her mom’s car, but this day made Angelica have a feeling she could not shake. She noticed that her car was sitting right in their driveway. She was confused, but also late. She made it to her foreign studies class only 5 minutes late. She searched the room for her best friend, Voleta. Voleta and Angelica became best friends for multiple reasons. Both of the girl’s parents had connections to many countries in Europe and would frequently visit them. As well as this, they were both multilingual. They would gossip about people they hated in Italian, and would share things that made them happy in Greek. Angelica was confused as Voleta almost always texted her when she would not be at school. Angelica tried contacting her, but never received a reply.
“Sarah, do you know where Voleta is?” She whispered as the teacher was lecturing.
“No clue. Probably sick. I don’t know.” Sarah replied.
The rest of the day was just as miserable. Angelica checked her phone at least 20 times an hour in hopes that Voleta replied to her. When she arrived home, she closed her shades and hid under the blanket until she fell asleep. Her father, who works as an international affairs agent, came to get her for dinner, but she would not go. This continued for several days. Her parents began to become worried.
“Agápi, I’m worried about Angelica. Something must have happened. She hasn’t left her room in days. I don’t think the girl has even eaten. I tried letting her drive my car the other day, but she still had an attitude.” Her mother was saying to her father.
“You know Callista, I was thinking the same thing. She won’t even speak to me. Do you think it’s because I’m working too much?”
“All I know is that she was perfectly fine last week. I’m going to talk to her.” Callista said as she walked upstairs.
“Angelica! What the hell is wrong with you? You haven’t moved in days! Theé mou, it’s getting weird.” Callista said to Angelica.
“Mom. Do you remember Voleta from school?”
“Of course I remember Voleta! Why? Did something happen Angel? Are you guys fighting? You shouldn’t fight with your friends Angelica.”
“I’m not! She’s gone. She left. Her parents moved back to Kalamata. She just texted me.” Angelica stuttered as tears began to roll down her face.
Her mother stood in the doorway. She always felt the pain that her daughter did, but she had to be strong for her. She knew that this was going to affect her forever.
“We travel all the time, Angelos. I’m sure this isn’t the end. Back in my day, if a friend moved, we would never hear from them again. Are you girls still talking?” Callista asked.
“Of course we are! Look mom, can you leave me alone for now?”
“Fysiká tha. I love you Angelica. Just know, we will always be here for you.” her mom said as she shut Angelica’s door.
Callista explained the entire situation to Angelica’s father, Alessio. They shared their thoughts, but they never knew what a big deal this truly was. They talked about taking a trip down to Greece as they both have family there while Angelica was laying in bed. She was having a dream more intense than any she has had before. There was a white sandy beach, with an ocean more blue than thick paint. She felt the water on her feet as her mind was flooded with serotonin. To her left, she saw the red rooftops of Kalamata lit up by the full moon. To her right, Voleta was standing next to her, holding her hand. She was wearing a small bikini that made Angelica’s heart race. This was a feeling she has never experienced before. Or perhaps a feeling that she never noticed. They walk back to a small apartment with a view overlooking the blue sea. They had a few drinks in the kitchen. She laughed and she felt loved. They go to their bedroom that is dimly lit with a vintage italian lamp. They lay in the bed and look up to the ceiling. Angelica was embraced by Voleta, and they drifted into peaceful slumber.
She was awoken by her mother, holding a plate of Sfakianopitas. This is her favorite dish, so she immediately noticed that they were there for her. She felt comfort in her soul, but she felt lost. The friend that she cherished so much had abandoned her in New Jersey. The place where she feels most lost. Angelica had even discovered a piece of herself that she wished did not exist. She felt shame for having feelings of love for a woman. This was not something that she was willing to admit to the world, let alone to herself.
Angelica drifted to sleep, into a world where she felt comfortable. Her parents were sitting next to the brick fireplace, sipping on some glasses of campari. They were discussing their worries about Angelica. At this point, several weeks had passed since Voleta let New Jersey, and Angelica refuses to leave her room.
“Darling, I know that we built our lives here in New Jersey, but our daughter is suffering. I’m certain that she feels out of place here. She is filled with culture, just as we raised her to be. This place doesn’t give her anything in return. Do you understand what I’m saying Alessio?” Callista expressed to her husband.
“You know, I’ve been feeling the same thing. As time goes on, we as people must learn to grow. We need to learn how to be accepted into the world as who you are. I’m worried that if we stay in America, Angelica will never have the ability to move on. She is a powerful young woman, and I don’t think she understands her potential in this world. Perhaps she does it to herself, perhaps she does not. The light has disappeared from her eyes. Imagine what a shame it would be to witness our daughter destroy herself in a community that she feels trapped in. Maybe it is time to move on. To let our daughter experience every emotion possible rather than have her waste away in her bed.” Alessio said as a tear dropped to the floor.