Reality didn't hit me at the funeral or the days after when I was taken to the airport. I was going to wake very soon. I could feel it. My father would shake me awake, just arriving home from the slopes and was very angry at me for dozing off. I was supposed to be studying the books, not drooling all over them. I would apologize and tell him about my awful dream and he would swoop me into his big arms to assure me that it was just that. I would feel warm again.
I stepped off the plane and headed though the terminal. The flight wasn't bad really...the attendants were very nice. One gave me an extra dessert. Now I suddenly wish that I had refused it because it threatened to come back up as my stomach tightened into hard knots.
I approached the gate and saw an old woman standing to the side. She had a hard look and an intimidating scowl that almost immediately caught my eye and kept it. I never saw a picture of my Aunt Cho and the only description was that she was old and a picture of me was already sent to her. I didn't even look at the other people in the crowd anticipating their loved ones to disembark because deep down I knew I had already found her.
I slowly walked towards her, every step feeling more and more like reality, until I was facing her. I managed to squeak out a small "Aunt Cho?" which was more a statement than a question. My eyes burned. I bit my cheek in an effort to ward off impending tears but her eyes stayed on me. Hard. Analyzing. Discerning even, which seemed to cut through all the dissolutions of the truth I had built up. Without a word she forced me to relent. My parents were really dead. I was really all alone and unwanted. My life will never be the same.