I walked down my dark brown, oak stairs to answer the door. As I was walking, I was thinking to myself who could it be? It was one in the morning after all. As soon as I answered it and I saw who it was my heart broke in two. Half of me was happy and excited, but the other half was in pain and in agony.

***Fifteen Years Earlier***

Today is the day. I have to do it no matter who it hurts. I thought that while I was getting out of my bed in Stamford, Nebraska. As of today (May 27, 1994) the small town population is about one hundred eighty. In Stamford everybody knows everyone and what they're doing. People mostly walk and barely drive cars since the town is only point five square miles. Whenever you're walking to the outlet mall or any place really you always have at least five people ask how and what you're doing.

I don't like people knowing what I'm doing every second of every day. I don't like a lot of things in this town. One thing I don't like is that I don't have a car. What twenty four year old doesn't have a car? I also live with my mother and father. When you're eighteen you're supposed to leave the nest, go to college, and build a life for yourself. Once I turned eighteen I had to help my mother with her diner. I didn't go to a big college as I wanted; I went to a community college. I admit that I am a small town girl, but I don't want to be. Ever since I was thirteen years old, I wanted to move to a big city. Somewhere like Los Angeles, Miami, or Manhattan. I had a plan to wait until I was twenty five, but I can't wait another year. I have been saving money on my own now for about ten years.

Today was the day that I was leaving. I knew that would upset my mother, father, and all of my friends, but I had to. If I didn't get out now then I would be stuck here forever. As soon as I stepped out of this house, I would not longer be a country girl. I had already bought plane tickets and my plane was leaving pretty soon. I had to get ready.

Once I was ready I walked down stairs to the kitchen. As usual, Mom and Dad were eating breakfast. I looked to see if anything had changed, but I was disappointed. They were on their daily routine with eggs, sausage, bacon, and waffles. Mom had her orange juice and her Of Mice and Men book. Dad had his coffee and his newspaper. Everything was perfect. Everything expect for one thing. I didn't belong there anymore.

Mom looked up from her book and said to me, "Hi, sugar. You're up late."

I checked my watch. It was seven 'o clock. That was another thing I didn't like. People here were up by six thirty at the latest, anything past that was inexcusable.

She continued, "Make yourself a plate and hurry up. We have to be at the diner in ten minutes." She made a face and said, "You're not even dressed. Are you sick, honey?"

I was dressed. I wasn't wearing plaid, so did that make me not dressed? I was wearing a white tank-top with a jean jacket and a denim skirt. My reddish brown hair was down today. Another thing I didn't like was that if you were out of "uniform" you were supposedly sick.

"Can I talk to you guys?" I asked.

Mom looked worried. I looked over at Dad and he either didn't hear me, or he "didn't hear me". Mom tapped his shoulder and said softly, "Carson?"

Without looking up he replied, "Hmm?"

"Honey, Angela needs to talk with us," Mom said kindly.

Dad finally looked up from his beloved newspaper. He raised his eyebrows and sighed. He was waiting for me. I looked over at mom and she sat down, it looked like they were both waiting.

I didn't want to do this, but I knew I had to. I started, "Y'all know how I use dream about me going off somewhere? Somewhere where I could be someone and do something? Do y'all remember what you told me?" When they didn't answer I answered for them, "Dad told me that my place was right here. That this is where I belonged and that here is where I should spend my life because out there in the real world I wouldn't make it because I only knew how to work in a diner. Mom told me that it was a big dream and if I ever dreamed big enough then I could discuss it with her." At this point Mom was grasping Dad's hand.

I looked down and continued, "Well I'm done dreaming. I have a plane ticket and my bags are packed. My plane leaves in two hours."

I looked up to see their reaction. Dad looked furious and Mom looked like she was about to break down into tears.

Out of the two of them dad was the first to speak, "You have no money, you won't get a job, or find a place to live! Where are you planning on going! Nowhere is going to just hand over food, money, and shelter!"

My eyes started to tear up. I replied to him kindly, "I know that, Dad. I wish I could tell you where I was going, but even I don't know. My plane ticket is for California, but I'm not staying there. I was planning on traveling for awhile until I find a place I like. As for the money situation, I've been saving for about ten years now."

"You've been saving! You mean you've known you were planning on leaving! Angela, you are just being plain selfish here! I thought I raised you better than that!" Dad yelled.

I was crying now. Tears poured down my face. I hated disappointing my dad. I said to him softly, "I know I am being selfish. I just want to make one thing clear. I am not leaving because of either of you. I am leaving for me, because I need to. I know that y'all may not get this, but I don't like living in a small town. If I don't leave now then I'll be stuck here forever. A few years ago I was too young to leave, a few years from now I will be too old to go out and travel; now is the perfect time to find out who I am. How do you expect me to do that when I'm living in a place like this? I have never left this town. I have done everything that you have asked me to do and nothing less. Now I am asking you for something."

"What do you want, money?" my dad said sharply. I could tell that he was hurt.

"Of course I don't want your money. What I want is your support. I need to know that I can still count on you guys to be here for me when or if I ever come back." I replied.

He didn't say anything. He just walked up and left without a simple goodbye I looked over at my mom. She had tears on her cheeks. This was breaking my heart. I can't do this anymore. I walked back upstairs and got my bags. It would be better if I just left now. Once I was back downstairs my mom hugged me.

"You can always count on me, honey." She told me.

"I'm sorry, mom. It would have been easier if I just left."

"No it wouldn't have. Your father and I would've been worried sick about you. We still will be worried sick now, but at least you told us goodbye."

Once we were through hugging. I opened the front door. Once I was about half way out, my mom said to me, "You can always count on me and your father."

I smiled and replied, "I know, mom. " I looked outside. Right there is a whole other world for me to discover. I looked back at her and said, "I love you."

"I love you too, sugar."

Then I walked out the door and never looked back. That moment was the moment that changed everything.