Tonight is the last time I’ll sleep in my bed for a whole six months. My little, tiny bed with the stuffed animals, and the floppy green pillow I made with my grandma. It’s not really my bed that I’ll miss – it’s the familiarity of these four green walls, and the quiet sounds of this little town called Delta drifting through my open bedroom window, and the comfort that my parents are just a wall away. It’s overwhelming, sometimes, to think that there are thousands of bustling cities in the world, and that today I am in little ol’ Delta but tomorrow, I’ll be in Berlin. It’s hard to comprehend, sometimes, that the world could be this big – at other times, it’s all I ever think about.
My bags are still not fully packed; I still have a few more errands to run. It’s as though I’m trying to delay my departure. “I just need one more day,” I tell myself. Just one more day to sit on our new patio and read a book. One more day to have dinner with my family. One more day to watch a movie with my dad. One more day to walk through the house and just listen. Listen to the sound of my mom madly typing away, listen to the sound of Klaryssa playing New York State of Mind on the piano, listen to my dad calling me to set the table. Listen to the sound of airplanes flying above me so that I could dream about going away, instead of actually having to do it.
I feel as though I’ve spent the past year climbing a huge staircase. I’ve finally reached the door at the top of it. I’m standing before it with the key in my hand – all I have to do is insert the key and give the door a gentle push and I’ll have the world in front of me. But I don’t want to do that anymore. Suddenly, all I want to do is run as fast as I can back to where I came from. But I can’t do that, can I? I can’t go back down now – not after all the effort and perseverance it took me to get here. I have to open the door and walk through it, even if my legs tremble, even if I fall down and make a fool of myself. It’s scary though and I don’t know how to be brave anymore. I’ve forgotten how to be brave.
My whole last day felt surreal. My heart was jumping sporadically from emotion to emotion and I kept feeling things more deeply and significantly than I ever have before. As my dad and I drove around running errands, I kept thinking “this is the last time I’m going to see this”, or “this is the last time I’m going to see that”. Things that I don’t even care about, really – a random house on a street, a crosswalk sign, a restaurant I’ve never even been to – suddenly everything seemed significant.
We had family dinner together for the last time. I’ll miss it. I’ll miss arguing about who gets the “bad fork,” and knocking elbows with Klaryssa, and my dad dropping his fork so loudly it hurts my ear, and Krystyna telling stories about school, and my mom asking for a dish as soon as it’s been passed to the other side of the table, and Karina exhaling in satisfaction after every sip of water she takes.
Before bed, I sat beside my mom on her bed and leaned on her shoulder. My dad brought up some leftover white wine, and we drank it as we talked about the past and we talked about the future. I know things are going to be different down the road – I’ll be different and they’ll be different. But the memory – the beautiful memory – of me leaning on my mom’s shoulder, and my dad sitting at the foot of the bed, and my sisters scrambled around the room, will always be the same. Nothing will ever change that, and I’ll remember it forever.