Coming of Age Sad American

Words have far more power that we give them credit for. Sure we talk about the power of words all the time, but it’s the small things in words that give them the power. You don't say ‘hey’ to a person who is interviewing you, and you wouldn’t normally say greetings to a good friend. The way you pronounce a word also plays into it, how formal you plan on treating someone, how close you are to a person. Goodbye’s, Farewells and see you laters are all so different.

There was a heavy paper envelope in my hand.

Excitement buzzed deep in my bones. This could be it! This could be the best moment of my day or the most soul crushing moment of the life.

I ripped off the top of the envelope and took out the inside papers.

My eyes quickly skimmed. My heart stopped.

This was real.

Your application caught our eye. We will gladly take you.

I had been accepted!

I kept reading and my wide smile drooped.

There is no room at the location near you, but we cannot wait for you to join us at...

That was so far.

That was really far away.

My sister, Cate, wouldn’t take well to it. We lived in the same house, siblings either made great or terrible roommates. I got lucky; I’m with the former.

Sighing, I placed it on my desk. I’ll tell her tomorrow, I thought as I went to my bedroom. I crawled under the covers falling into a deep sleep.

“In the morning.”


I woke up with my eyes blurry and the smell of burnt oatmeal. “Hey Cate?” I called.

There was no response.

“Cate?” I tried again.

I trudged into the kitchen, there was a pot of oatmeal and a pink note.

I went across the cold kitchen tiles, I grimaced as I got closer to the pot. Cooking would never be Cate’s forte.

I picked up the bright pink note.

Morning Noah! I made some oatmeal (feel free to throw it out.). I got rescheduled to an early shift. See you later.

I sighed. She was gone. I scooped out the oatmeal and it thudded into the bottom of the trashcan.

I grabbed my phone that I left on the counter. A repeated series of beeps came from it. “Pick up.”

The beeping stopped. “Hi Noah!” I heard Cate say. Her voice was crackly and I could hear other cars in the background. 

“Hey Cate. You remember that I applied for my dream a bit back?” 

She laughed. “Of course I do! It’s better than your half time job at the library.”

“Well I got it, b-.” 

“That’s great!” She said cutting me off. “Look, I have to go, can I talk to you later?”


The phone already clicked off. That was odd, normally she talks for so long I have to hang up.

I sighed. I’ll talk to her later.


I spent the day sending emails and getting things sorted. I felt really tense. I sort of felt like I was going behind Cate’s back. She knew how much I wanted to do this, but I just hadn’t talked to her or said goodbye.

The door slammed open. “Hello home!” Cate sang.

I came into the hallway, no human should be that perky.

She bit back a laugh when she saw his face. “What did you miss your daily coffee?”

Noah rolled his eyes. “I don’t like coffee. I’ve been working on the computer all day.”

“That sounds terrible.” She shook her head.

“Yeah well the reason is-”

“The reason is you're just a grump.” She teased. “You go take a shower and I’ll go make some dinner.”

“But-” I protested. I really needed to talk to her, and her interrupting was starting to get on my nerves.

She shoved me into my room cutting me off. “It will be an instant dinner.”


I came out wet and soaked. I was going to tell Cate and she couldn’t interrupt me.

Cate smiled at me when I came over and began to rapidly stack her dishes. “I’m glad you finally got out of the shower. I thought you might have drowned. Welp. I’m going to bed now.”

“Wait, I really need to talk to you.”

She tries to leave. “I’ve had a really long day, could we do this tomorrow?”

I grabbed her wrist as she tried to leave. “This is important. I’m-”

“Please let me sleep Noah.” Her voice was cold. She ripped her hand from mine and made a beeline for her room.


The room was stock-still. She stopped moving.

“T-the place it really far off and I won’t be able to see you much.” I said in a quieter voice.

“That’s what you’ve been trying to say all day?” She asked, her voice toneless and eyes on the ground. Her hand held onto the wall to keep her steady.

“Yeah.” I took in a deep breath. “I’m going to be leaving.”

She looked at the ground. “I know.”

I blinked. “You what?”

“I went into your room last night and saw the letter.” She admitted.

“You went into my room last night?” I echoed

Cate held up a finger. “I left my shoes in there and this is not the point. I just…” She sighed. She sunk onto the floor near the wall surling up. “Some part of me thought that if you never got to say goodbye you wouldn’t leave.”

I slowly walked over sitting next to her. “It doesn’t really work like that.”

She playfully punched me on the shoulder. “I know that too.” She smirked, but it fell. “I guess I didn’t think you would leave so soon”

“I am older than you.”

She laughed dryly.  “Can you not say goodbye?” Her voice was a hoarse whisper and she stared at me with big brown eyes. “It sounds really final.”

I wrapped my arms around her. “I promise to see you later.”

“Okay.” She whispered.

April 17, 2021 02:58

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