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  • Daniel Rangel

Journal Entry #5: The Grand Welcoming


PART 2: THE GRAND WELCOMING

ENTRY #5. YEAR 2013, DAY 1



It’s real. Mexico City’s Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez welcomes me. It’s foggy, or smoggy, not sure. It’s cold, the sun is just waking up. My first step off the plane is heavy. Like a big gush of wind, the reality of my situation hits me as my step lands on the bridge. It all comes gushing out, a burst of feral emotions. There was this hovering feeling, like having sex for the first time. I was more into the idea of what I had gotten myself into than the actual act. Similarly, I didn’t know what to do next. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I clenched my fists. I pulled my hair. I had to feel something. I had to make sure this was real.


Every past decision I’ve made has been gradual, baby steps. Now, I’m having a hard time registering how quickly my life took such a drastic turn. One decision, a few little steps, and—bam! Life takes a turn. I should be heading to the office, greeting Nora at the front desk, pouring a coffee, slipping into my cubicle, and working my way down a list of daily tasks. But no, it’s like God got bored and switched the channel on my life, changing the setting, tone, genre, supporting actors, plot, and theme.


I should be scared in my new role, but surprisingly, I’m not. My concerns have been overshadowed by the lightness of my new life. Routine is comfortable but it comes with a ten-thousand-pound elephant that I feel I just unloaded. Nothing is holding me down now, nothing I must do, no place I have to be. I can go wherever the wind takes me. Not because the wind is so strong it can pull me, but because for the first time in my life I’m in a position that if I wish to entertain the wind’s direction, I can. I guess this is freedom, and it feels great.


As I made my way past customs to the reception area, something else hit me. I realized that the burst of emotions crackling inside me had no place in my outside reality. Inside, my veins were screaming, serenading the most significant day of my life to the tune of beautiful mariachi music. Outside, people seemed to be mindlessly shuffling to the boring rhythm of an average day. Aside from the occasional glance, I might as well not have existed to the people around me. I passed men in suits holding name cards and people with bouquets and balloons, and I acknowledged that none were for me. I’m in this alone. Even Rodrigo is gone. He disappeared with that first step off the plane.


So here I am, on a bench, inside the airport, with mixed emotions and a backpack, directionless and aimless like I’ve never been before. I have no idea what is going to become of the rest of my life or, for that matter, the next year, months, weeks, hours, or even the next few minutes. I don’t know where I am going to sleep tonight, so let me put this journal down, get out of here, and figure that out.



ABOUT: This is a memoir, structured as a journal, meant to read like a novel. It’s a free book with new entries published regularly. It’s is the story of how I traveled the American continent, from Mexico to Argentina, starting with two-dollars and a string and a button. Subscribe to be notified of new entries.

This free publication is a small token of my appreciation to the thousands of people I met in the streets who made my journey possible. I might not be the best person to write this story, but here it is. It’s yours. Thank you. From the USA to Argentina, Thank you!



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