Downtown New York

As I sat inside the FirstLive van, parked blocks away from the old Purfek Storm Group office, I couldn’t help but feel a mixture of nostalgia and anticipation. Memories of my time at the office flooded back, as I thought about the countless hours spent there, tirelessly working to make a name for myself and my company. The building, now only a remnant of my past, still held a special place in my heart. The upcoming trip to San Diego with Brenna loomed over me, a bittersweet mix of excitement and fear. The thought of boarding an airplane, my long-standing phobia, weighed heavily on my chest. I could feel the knot in my stomach tightening with each passing moment, but I refused to let it control me. I had made a promise to Brenna, and I intended to keep it. The van felt like a pressure cooker in the sweltering summer heat, the sun’s rays transforming the metal box into a makeshift sauna. Beads of sweat trickled down my face, my shirt clinging to my skin as if it were a second layer. Despite the unbearable heat, I couldn’t bring myself to roll down the windows, lest I invite an invasion of the dreaded red lantern flies. The buzzing sound of their wings haunted me, as they swarmed just outside the van, a relentless army of winged pests. They were like little demons, taunting me with their presence, constantly seeking a way in. Whenever I dared to venture outside for a much-needed cigarette break, I braced myself for the inevitable onslaught of these voracious insects. They seemed to have a vendetta against me as if they knew how much I despised them. As I tried to distract myself with my phone, my thoughts drifted to the upcoming trip. I envisioned the beaches of San Diego, the cool ocean breeze, and the feeling of freedom that awaited us there. I imagined Brenna dancing the night away at the Bad Bunny concert, carefree and full of life. The mere thought of these moments brought a smile to my face, a flicker of joy amidst the chaos of the day. With each passing second, I mentally prepared myself for the challenges ahead – the flight, the trip, and the ongoing battle against the red lantern flies. As I sat in the FirstLive van, grateful for the opportunity to earn some extra cash to make our trip more enjoyable, I knew that I would need to dig deep within myself to find the strength and resilience to overcome my fears.

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