This story is not about departing, it’s about arriving. That’s not obvious, though.
As the story opens, a young woman gets into a car and drives off. She leaves people standing in front of her former home: her family, a crowd of friends, and a dog. They wave, the dog barks, everyone calls goodbye and grins madly – even the ones hiding tears.
The young woman had been sick with leukemia or something dire, bedridden and convalescent for years, her survival not guaranteed. Early on, she started to think about leaving, about travel, a dream that might or might not come true, but it was the only future she had.
Whenever she could, she sat in bed or on a sofa and talked to anyone there, sometimes just to the dog, about travel. They shared stories, fantasies, wishes, Youtube videos, travelogs, books, souvenirs, and photos. Her friends even invited their friends just back from trips to come talk to her, since she was always delighted to hear every detail, and they always left her feeling happy.
This went on for years. Once she even exchanged a few emails with an astronaut orbiting the Earth.
Slowly, her health improved. She remembered everything she’d been told, waited for relapses, planned carefully, stared hard into her future, and finally the day came when she took to the road, her dreams and the dreams of her family and friends fulfilled. She had reached the end of the journey she had really wanted to take, arriving at the best possible destination, health.
That’s the story. The only one sad at the end is the dog, who had always hoped to come along with her.