"This is it" mom said to me as they called my group to board the plane.
The reality of what was happening really hit me, but I have to be strong for my mother. I looked up at her and smiled my best smile. "Yup! Gonna go play ball with the big dogs I suppose"
"Oh shut up and leave already" my brother snickered. I stuck my tongue out at him and then I hugged him.
"Have fun sis," he told me. I responded with a head nod for fear of tears starting to pour.
"Don’t forget to eat study, wash your clothes, brush your teeth, and please try to talk to people okay?"My mom said in her motherly tone.
Ugh."Mooooom" I groaned, "I know I know, I'll be fine don't worry okay?" I gave my mom a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"I love you baby Arany," my mom said to me tears falling down her face.
That was my grandfather’s old nickname for me, Arany, before he passed away shortly after my 11th birthday. "I love you too momma" I hugged her again one last time realizing I wouldn't see her for a year, then I turned around and grabbed my stuff and went to take my seat on the plane.
I was in my own world when I got on that plane, I looked out the window and put headphones in music wasn't playing but I didn't want to be bothered. I had my bear in my lap and thought about what was about to come. Before they told us to turn our stuff on airplane mode, I sent a text to Sarah:
I miss u best friend<3
She replied faster than I thought she would.
Ur on the plane nowaren’t you, I knew reality would hit you soon. I miss u too best friend<3
I set my phone down in my lap and waited. I felt someone sit next to me but I was looking out the window, not in the mood to talk to anyone. Not to mention how socially awkward I am I'd probably sound like an idiot anyway.
As soon as the plane finally took off, I started thinking about practice. I was unbelievably nervous and scared I almost didn't want to do it anymore. I wanted to stand up and yell at the pilot and tell him to turn around and take me home. This plane was the last place I wanted to be, tears threatened to come out but I tried to choke them back. Why? No one is here to see. I let them fall, I cried for a good thirty minutes and then I thought about what my brother said about not quitting if it's something I love. Why did he tell me to prove myself like I already have before? What was he talking about? Unless he was referring to my cardiac issues I was having during my club soccer season between junior and senior year of highshool, when the cardiologist told me I couldn't play anymore. If he was, he was right. I have a lot to prove to myself and everyone else who knows my story.
"Let’s go Elizabeth pick it up!! I know you can move faster than that!!" my coach hollered at me.
"Coach I can't!" I was breathing heavy, my chest burning as if someone threw a match down my throat and my whole chest caught on fire. My heart stuttered and I thought for sure I was about to die or something. My knees went weak and the right side of my body went numb "coach" I heard myself sat. It was an odd sound, a choking sound. I scared myself and I started to panic. My vision was starting to fade away and I tried to come back to everyone, pull myself out before I fainted but it was too late. I collapsed on the ground.
What was going on? I heard voices all around me and sirens. Where was I? I tried to open my eyes but I couldn't. I kept trying but nothing I would do could allow me to open my eyes so I decided to try and sleep it off.
When I finally woke up I had no idea where I was. I was in a room that was so white it hurt my eyes, I squinted. Some type of machine was hooked up to me monitoring my heart.
"Sweetheart?" I heard my mom speak, concern in her voice.
"Mom?" I asked I tried to look around but my head was too heavy to lift up.
"I'm right here," mom stood up hovering over me. “How are you feeling?" she asked
"I'm fine mom." I reassured her, but I wasn't fine. My chest was killing me, all I wanted to do was rip my heart out and see if that stopped the pain, the monitor that was reading it was in no pattern whatsoever.
"I'll get the nurse," she told me. Before I could argue, she was already gone. I was glad, I didn’t want to ask for help but I knew I needed it.
The rest was all fuzzy; I was in and out of that room for the rest of the day getting tests run. Until the worst moment of my life happened, before we left the doctor was sitting and talking with my mom.
"... Won’t be able to play soccer until we find out what’s wrong"
My whole world seemed to crash down with those words and I shot up which wasn’t such a good idea because I got dizzy. "Wh- what?" I managed to get out. "No soccer? Me? I'm fine though!" I started crying like a baby. My mom reached to me and put a hand on my shoulder.
"Don't worry honey, we will get through this and you will be okay"
"No..." I trailed off crying even more thinking about everything I would miss if something was seriously wrong.
My mom made a follow up appointment with the doctor and received different types of medication. I couldn't handle it; I went to sleep on the way home and only woke up long enough to go upstairs to my bed.
The next day I had to tell my coaches why I couldn't play. I could barely get out the words. It hurt watching my team everyday practicing and playing around. When they complained about the drills or conditioning, I beat myself up wishing to trade positions with them. I wanted to feel their pain and not mine. I wanted to dribble the ball down the field, I wanted to play defense against everyone and see who could get past me until no one could. Weeks went by with no results. Nothing seemed to help, and occasionally I would cry myself to sleep. I fainted at least once a week and I couldn't even go up the stairs anymore. My brother came over to visit me and helped my mom move all of my stuff down into the guest bedroom.
About halfway through the horrible event my team was off playing their most rivaled while I had to go see the cardiologist. Again. They sent me home with a machine I had to wear that hooked up to me and hid under my clothes, how embarrassing. The whole day people asked about it and I just wanted to rip it off and scream. All I wanted was to get better and not deal with it. We sent the machine back to the hospital and they still didn't know what was wrong. A week later I went back and got hooked to more machines but this time they made me run on a tread mill for 10 minutes straight while I was hooked up, I was scared. I wanted to be able to do it but I knew I couldn't. I got on and ran and I felt the pain fire up in about two minutes, on the machine reading you could see my weird heart patterns. They put me under one of those machines for pregnant ladies so they could see my heart. The petroleum jelly was cold and my heart looked weird. The doctor said he didn't physically see anything wrong with it. However, obviously something was going on. Finally a few weeks later when I went back they diagnosed me with some weird heart problem with some long name I couldn't pronounce. They gave me a special diet to go on along with some medication that was going to help me. This seemed to be my last chance
Club season was nearly over and it was almost time for school ball. My senior year. I couldn't miss my senior year. The medicine and diet helped though, I stopped fainting as much and my heart seemed to get back on track. Basically, my heart and brain were not in sync with each other the chemical balance between them was working against each other and the doctors helped them get back on track. It was a scary thought but I would give anything to play soccer again.
I remember school ball tryouts my senior year. I was so nervous I wasn't 100% sure I could do it without fainting or just making the team in general considering I hadn't played in a while. I cried, the tryouts weren't over with until the week was over so I had no idea what was going to happen. I was relieved that I could play though, I didn't faint once. Nor did I feel that fire in my chest anymore. I was worried but relieved that the pain was going away.
When the list finally came out, it was during lunch. All of my friends were telling me that it was posted by the locker room and they told me to check it. I was nervous. I went to it right after I finished eating and I went through the list of JV players. "No... No...No" I grew worried seeing my name wasn't on the list. I thought for sure I made JV at least then I saw it. My name out of the corner of my eye. On the varsity list? "Varsity!!" I exclaimed. I was ecstatic, it made everything worth it. I was afraid I hadn't made the team at all but to make such a great comeback? I vowed to never let anyone tell me I can’t play soccer.
The plane ride was long; I fell asleep halfway through and woke up when a flight attendant tapped on my shoulder. I got out and got ready to board the next plane. When I was waiting I spotted a cute guy getting donuts. His hair was shaggy, light brown and it was a mess like he just woke up and he had the build of a male soccer player. He looked up and we made eye contact. Awkward. I quickly looked away pretty sure that he saw me looking at him and I felt myself blush. Why? Just because a cute guy made eye contact with me? Geez.
They were calling my group to board the plane, "here we go, halfway there" I said under my breath. I made sure I had my bear in my hand and I checked my phone:
Everyone was probably asleep, oh well. I got on the plane and sat down. Lucky me I got another window seat. I was waiting for everyone else to board when Cute Guy got on.
"Oh no," I thought, "please don't sit next to me"
He was walking straight towards me, looking for his seat. I turned and looked out the window hoping he wouldn't say anything to me. I felt the seat next to me shake as if someone plopped down into it, I jumped a little.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you." a quiet deep voice said to me.
I turned and looked. Sure enough it was Cute Guy. His eyes were beautiful and green, his skin tan from probably playing soccer.
"I like your indoors" he said to me shaking me from my trance. "Indoors?" I thought "oh duh, my shoes!"
"Thank you," I said in one breath, "my brother got them for me custom made". Wait, was I bragging to this gorgeous stranger? He seemed worried I wasn't going to speak to him until I told him that though and a huge smile grew across his face.
"Cool," he said." What’s that?" he asked, pointing at the bear in my lap.
"Oh this?" I blushed a little, “it’s my bear, I take him everywhere"
"Aren’t you a little old to have a bear?" he teased.
"I'm not old, besides if I was there is no age limit on teddy bears." I remarked. Who does this guy think he is? He should just mind his own damn business.
"How old are you then?" he asked, curiosity in his voice.
"I'm 19," I stated.
"Ah, you are right, you're not old at all, and I’m 20"
"Cool," I smiled a Little at him. “I hope you don't mind but I'm going to listen to music now, I have a lot of stuff to think about”
"Sure, sure, go ahead. I'll be reading. If you need anything just let me know okay?" he gave me a genuine smile and I smiled back at him putting my headphones in and playing music.
I was about 3 hours from being in my new dorm with a new team in a new place and new friends. A new culture. Thankfully I know English because it’s my mom’s first language, otherwise I would hate being in America. So much change happening so fast I might hyperventilate. I'm a pretty shy person, socially awkward, quiet; I really hope my roommate doesn't think I'm rude. It’s just how I am; I'm not that way on purpose. I would kill to be able to just go up to people and strike up a conversation comfortably like Cute Guy did with me. This trip is definitely going to be interesting. I hope that my roommate isn't going to make fun of me for playing FIFA and Mine craft on the play station. If she’s a bully, I’m going to hate it here. I also hope that the team is drama free; I hate teams with a lot of drama because it ruins the game. But hey, I need to have at least something in common with these people. Soccer.
Somewhere in my thoughts I fell asleep and I woke up to someone tapping my forehead. "Petofi?? Petofi! Wake up Petofi; it’s time to get up!"
Who is that? I opened my eyes. I was very comfortable and I didn't want to move. I was leaning on someone’s shoulder. I shot up sitting straight. Cute Guy. I looked over at him and he was smiling. "Welcome back sleepy head."
Oh god, I fell asleep on him! How does he know my name? Oh, it’s on my shirt. I should probably say something to him! "s-sorry," I mumbled.
"That’s quite alright, I was comfortable," he winked at me and stood up. He grabbed his carry on and looked at me. "Bye, I’ll see you around Petofi. I'm David by the way"
"Bye David," I said, still groggy from the sleep I had.
David turned around and exited the plane. I stood up and grabbed my bag. When I exited the plane I went to find my luggage and a cab driver was there waiting for me. I helped load my stuff into the car and took my seat in the back. He drove me to the dorm rooms and helped me take my bags inside. I thanked him and pulled money from my wallet, leaving him a tip. No one was in the dorm it was just me. I looked around, I could already tell from my roommate's stuff, she was more girly than I was but maybe she’s not a snob. I hope.
I unpacked all my stuff, organizing my side of the room and relaxing. I hooked my phone into the wall and placed my laptop on my desk, logging into Face book I posted a status:
Finally here in America, unpacked all my stuff in my dorm and now I have no idea what to do.
I looked at my phone and saw some missed messages from a few Friends. I’ll check them later; I think I’ll take an hour nap. Hopefully I won’t feel so nauseous when I wake up. I lie on my stomach and fell quickly to sleep.