The One-Way Ticket

By Katherine Montgomery, Contributing Writer

Originally published November 5, 2018.


A one-way ticket was taped upon her wall. Ever since she could remember, Ella could lie back with her head resting on a pillow and her gaze looking up to see that bright and shining ticket, her very own North Star. “Only twelve more years now,” she thought to herself. Only twelve more years until a life of glamour and sophistication.


Two years later, Ella tells her parents that she will take that ticket and become a movie star. With each passing day, the one-way ticket taunted Ella with infinite hopes, dreams, and possibilities. Ella fantasized night and day about that much-anticipated arrival to a destination unknown.


Three years later, Ella decides she wants to be a doctor. Ella tells her little sister that she is practically an adult. With each passing day, the one-way ticket’s expiration date crept closer and closer. Ella, for one, could not wait.


Four years later, Ella goes along to drop her brother off at his first year of college. Blue and white surrounded her. For the first time in her life, Ella could practically taste the freedom the one-way ticket ensured.


A year later, Ella spends every waking moment looking at colleges and envisioning her perfect future. She wants to be a lawyer with a husband, 2-4 kids, a dog, a cat, and a white picket fence. Everything is planned. “What so ever could go wrong?” Ella thinks to herself.


17 years old. The girl hunches over her laptop at 2:48am, merely hours before the bbrrriiiinngg of school’s dreaded morning bell. College applications, essays, and homework have cast out all light the girl formerly known as Ella previously possessed. Hair-pulling and mental breakdowns seem to be perfectly built into her 25/8 schedule operating on a 24/7 system.


Each night the girl sees that damn one-way ticket. She tears it down, rips it up, sets it on fire, and throws the ashes out the window. Every morning, without fail, the girl wakes up to the ghastly one-way ticket hanging in the place it was previously ripped from.


18. Finally. The one-way ticket’s expiration date has arrived. With a suitcase in one hand and a cigarette in the other, the girl stands on the edge of a cliff. A locked past behind her. An empty and uncertain future beyond her. The girl takes a final look at that damn one-way ticket. It simply reads, “JUMP.” And the girl formerly known as Ella followed her North Star.