"Ma'am your boarding pass please," the flight attendant said as I stepped forward in the queue.
I snapped back into reality, handing her over the shiny white pass, she scanned it and handed it back to me and I walked down the jet way to board the plane, toting my small leather carry on bag behind me. I found my seat and was thankful I got the row to myself. I sunk back and let out a deep sigh of relief that I had made it this far, now I just had to survive the plane trip.
I was feeling uneasy but it was no surprise, I hadn't returned to Chicago in ten years. I was sickened at the thought, I still remembered my parents as if I had seen them yesterday and not like they had died in a horrific car accident a decade ago.
I hadn't had the strength to go back again, even with all the time that had passed I still found it hard to deal with the loss and I didn't ever want to be reminded of that very real, raw pain again. If it wasn't for Troya, I would have never even considered returning.
But she was my sister after all and she was expecting her first child - I had to face my fears and be there for her, she didn't have Mom and Dad to support her after all. I can't say she had an easy time convincing me. Troya didn't know it but there was more than just the obvious reason for me never wanting to go back to Chicago.
The other reason, or reasons was Thomas and Eric. The boys had been my best friends since kindergarten and going up we had been completely inseparable. As long as I never had to face them again, I'd be okay, that's what I told myself. The truth was I had abandoned them when I left to go live with my grandparents ten years ago, I just cut them right out of my life without so much as an explanation as I did with almost everything I loved. I was just sixteen at the time, young and dumb and stricken with grief. But still, what I did was inexcusable and to this day I still feel guilty.
I had been dating Thomas for six months before the accident and it had put a strain on our tight knit trio. The dynamic had changed, Thomas and I wanted to spend more and more time alone together, we weren't just best friends anymore - we were in love. Eric seemed to lose interest in us as well, despite me being the girl in the group, it was always Eric who was regarded as the misfit. He was the son of billionaire shipping magnate while Thomas and I came from middle class families.
Growing up Eric having money had never been an issue but as he became a young man that began to change. He realised that money equated to power and control and he used that to his advantage, he had become a complete jerk, arrogant, big mouthed and rude. He had also become famous for his womanising and wild parties - none of which Thomas or I were invited to. He began distancing himself from us that year, choosing his new, wealthy friends instead. Eric had slipped so far away from us that he didn't even show up for my sixteenth birthday. I was hurt that he had thrown away our life long friendship but I thought he'd come around so I let it go. Thomas, however thought it was inexcusable and confronted him.
I remember going to Thomas' house that night, waiting for him on the steps outside. He came home bloody nosed and black eyed, cursing that he'd never have anything to do with that 'asshole' again. I took his side, after all he was my boyfriend and Eric had chosen not to be part of my life anymore.
It was what happened in the next few weeks that would change my life forever. It was a Tuesday night, Troya and I were at home and Mom and Dad were driving back to Chicago after a conference an hour out of the city. They were late, hours late and I began to panic when they didn't pick up my calls. Around midnight a policeman showed up at our house. He told Troya and I that our parents had been involved in a collision car accident and died instantly on impact. I couldn't even explain the way I felt when I heard that my parents had died, I