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Her friends begged her not to fly the day before Thanksgiving. The delays, the cancellations, the stress of it. But she wanted to be there with them. Afterall it had been a few years and Jessica feard she was losing contact with her circle of friends in New York. The idea of losing the thread that proved she was someone who’d followed her dreams to the big city frightened her. Her present life in LA was a detour, a career step ladder.

And so she Ubered to the airport, gave the driver five stars, and rolled toward the PreCheck gate at security. The line wound down a hallway normally off limits to travelers, but at this point they had no where else to put them all. An hour, but she’d planned. When she finally reached the body scanner, the actual screening was rushed and she was grateful.

But nothing went well after that. She called Sarah when her flight was delayed, she called Victor when there was a gate change at midnight, she called everyone in a group call when she finally gave up at three a.m.

Back home in the warmth of her apartment, she unpacked, took a shower, and climbed into bed.

The next morning she slept late and felt fresh and happy when she finally emerged. The day was sunny, the palm trees in her neighborhood sparkled, and no one was in line at her favorite breakfast place. Pancakes made of exotic flours, syrup made from half a dozen kinds of berries, French butter and exquisitely dark coffee.

The rest of the day was hers, and hers alone. She’d restart and enjoy a completely empty day. With half the city gone somewhere near or far, the freeways were empty. She did something she didn’t think possible: she went to the beach at midday. Empty parking spots, empty beach, endless sun. She shook out her rarely used towel, lathered on sunscreen, and pulled a fat book from her bag. She lay back in the sand and promptly fell asleep.

When she awoke an hour later, she still had the rest of the day.

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