My sister left for college last week. She is now three hours away from home. She has journeyed beyond this place we grew up and is ready to begin the next phase of her life, and we had to say goodbye.
The moment before I hugged her and kissed her cheek felt like a hinge between past and present. I remembered pizza nights with endless episodes of Gilmore Girls. I remembered my birthday and the balloon-infested living room she prepared for me. I remembered that crazy little girl who grew up to become my best friend. Now she is living with other people instead of me, and she is at a real university with a magnificent campus.
Leading up to this moment, we’d driven ourselves crazy for two years while she completed community college and while I finished my undergraduate degree and started graduate school. Two years can be the longest and shortest amount of time all at once. I never thought that was possible until I lived with my beautiful, frustrating, fascinating sister.
Now she is three hours away. I am back home, finishing graduate school, trying to figure out the spaces that have been left behind by my sister (and brother just yesterday). I am an only child in a house that has never known just one of us.
I wonder how long it will take to fill this new, delicious silence. While I miss my sister (and my brother), I’m left remembering my undergrad years and feeling so excited for the both of them. I’m just not sure how to navigate my house now that I’m in my twenties and living here full-time. Of course, it is cozy here and filled with more love than any one person could ever ask for. It is home.
Being here, I feel the need to wander. The feeling comes in waves, and I know, sometime soon, I’ll wander far and away. I will travel again. I will be somewhere new, and I will feel somewhat new, and all of this newness might be scary. For right now, though, I think about my sister three hours away. She is our wanderer. And so I say, “Ciao, Baby,” and I wait for her to return to us so maybe I can wander away next.