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When I was younger, I envied my older siblings. They had so much freedom. They could go out whenever they wanted, had their own money, lived on their own without the supervision of my parents. Now that I have reached that part of life, I’m realizing that it’s not as exciting as it seems. You leave everything behind. The roads you have driven down almost every day, the cashier that you always gossip with at the neighborhood supermarket, the library that you spent almost every night at. You have to leave it all behind. Those parents that you couldn’t wait to get away from is what hurts the most. They’ve scheduled your doctor’s appointments, brought your groceries, and so much more. It’s scary to think that I’ll have to leave it all. 

3 days before I went, I thought to myself. I was a little scared, well no, I was terrified but I was excited, a new chapter of my life. As I packed up I thought about the past 4 years of my life. From walking into the high school as fresh meat to senior night with my 3 best friends alongside me. No one told me it would go by so fast. That it all goes by before you can blink. I wasted time worrying about that boy when I could’ve been going on late night drives eating junk food, spending time with the most important people in my life. “You ready to go?” my mom asked, snapping me out of my thoughts. I smiled and walked over to her. She has been my rock for the last 17 years of my life. When I was mad at her, she was there. When she was disappointed in me, she was there. She is one of my biggest support systems, I’m gonna miss her a lot. I nodded my head and put down the rest of the clothes I was holding. I’m gonna have to finish this tomorrow, maybe I can get some friends over to help. Tonight, my family and I were going out to eat to send me off to college. I still had two days until I left, but there was so much to do and never enough time. It was gonna be my family and my cousins. We had grown up together our whole lives so moving away from them was harder than I want it to be. We arrived at the restaurant and sat down to eat. This restaurant was the same place that all 3 of my older siblings had had their graduation and going off parties. It was kind of a tradition that our family had. As always, we had the same waiter and staff, Alyssa and Brady who were amazing people that were always kind and welcoming no matter how they were treated. I sat down next to my favorite cousin Alex. He was the same age as me and was going off to college too so we were in similar situations except he was staying about an hour away from home while I was moving 4 hours away without traffic. I wanted to stay close to home but then I was offered a full-ride scholarship, God knows I needed it. “How are you holding up?” I asked. “I should be asking you that. Ur the one moving 4 hours away. I want to be independent but I don’t know if I could bring myself to do that.” I sighed. I don’t know how I’m doing it either, I’m terrified but I know that this is what’s best for me, whether I’m comfortable or not. It’s saving my family so much money and no way to learn how to be independent like moving halfway across the state right?” I could hear the fear in my voice and so could he. He leaned over and gave me a bear hug. “You'll be fine. Even when you are not fine you’ll survive. You're one of the strongest people I know. I don’t doubt that you’ll do well” he whispered into my hair. And this is why he is my favorite cousin. He’s always there for me even when I don’t know that I needed it. He knows me better than my parents. But I’m never gonna tell him that. We don’t want his ego getting too big. That would be disastrous. “Are we still going driving tonight?” Alex and I go driving every Friday night, listening to trashy music, eating trashy food, speeding down the highway, and talking about everything that comes to mind. Most of the time we bring friends but this was probably the last time we were gonna do this in a while so I didn’t want to bring any friends along. “Sure, but since this is the last time we’re gonna be doing this in a long time, I want to go alone. We can go in my car but you have to buy the snacks, if it’s healthy, I will throw it out the window.” he smiled at it. “ 10 o’clock were meeting my house since I’m the one bringing the food.” I shook his hand “deal”. We ordered our food and listened while our families caught up on each other's lives. This was something I was gonna miss. Dinner with the family, talking about random stuff, being in each other's presence. At that moment a feeling of safeness and security came over me so strong that I almost wanted to cry. Everyone was so happy, their smiles so big, the room filled with laughter and good food. I’m already missing this even though I haven’t left yet. After 2 hours, we finally started to filter out of the restaurant.  I texted my 3 closest friends and asked them if they wanted to come over and help me pack tomorrow. One of them, Lexie, was coming with me to college but the other two ,Olive and Jack were staying here. They wanted to stay closer to their friends and families, close to familiarity. They all agreed to come over at 1 tomorrow and then have a movie night after we were done. I loved spending time with them, they never failed to make me smile. But I was ready to go. I went home and got ready to go on the late-night drive with Alex. Placing my phone on the charger I went to clean out my car and change clothes. I told my parents I was going driving and went to fill up my car. By the time I got to Alex’s’s house, it was only 9:15 but it was ok. I wanted to talk to his mom. Even though we were just at the restaurant together 1 prefer talking 1 on 1 so this worked out perfectly. We talked about my classes, how I felt leaving, how to survive the school year and so much more. I could talk to her for hours and it would feel like minutes. She was so smart and filled with so much wisdom, I always learned something new from her. Like always she gave me the stay away from drugs, boys, and alcohol speech but she knew I didn’t need it. I was smarter than that. And I had my full scholarship to think of. I was not about to risk that for a boy. Alex got back with the snacks around 10:15 late as always, then we were on our way. When we go driving like this we never usually have a destination we’re going to. We just pick a highway then decide when we want to get off. We drive around until we’re ready to start heading home. In most aspects of my life I like to have a destination, a reason for what I’m doing or where I’m going, but this I didn’t mind. It reminded me to let loose. Not everything you do has to have a reason. We drove for about an hour before getting off the highway and stopping at McDonald’s, our go-to late-night drive place. We got a buttload of food we probably weren’t going to eat then continued driving. We listened to music and enjoyed each other’s company. After about an hour and a half of driving around, we turned around and headed home.” I wish time would slow down. It feels like yesterday we were just starting high school. How in the world are we about to start college. I say in awe. “Time flies when we’re having fun” I looked out my window. “It didn’t fly. It disappeared into thin air. Gone with a snap of a finger.” Alex chuckled. “The same thing is going to happen with college. It's gonna be gone before you know it. Then we’re gonna be getting married and having kids. It all happens so fast. That's why you should slow down and take it in whenever you get a chance.” I looked at him with wide eyes. “You just said something smart. You have a brain up there. It's a miracle.” he shook his head and looked ahead. “I’m serious. We are in such a rush to grow up that we don’t focus on being present.” I closed my eyes and thought about it. I wish someone could have told the freshmen me that. I slowly drifted off to sleep after that. Thinking about my family and friends, the things that made me happy, that made life worth living. By the time I woke up, we were at Alex’s house. He got out of the car and came over to my side. He pulled me into a hug before asking if he was gonna see me before I left. “Yes. i'll swing by before I leave to say goodbye.” I replied. “Ok” he replied. He started heading inside to say “goodnight baby cousin.” waving his hand in the air. I smiled. He was 4 months older than me so he called me his baby cousin. I hated him doing that, but tonight I appreciated it. I don’t know why but, It made me happy and I want to hold on to that as long as possible. I drove home to find the whole house sleeping. I’m not surprised, it’s almost 2 in the morning. I crept up the stairs trying to make the least amount of noise as possible. I didn’t want to wake anyone up. I got to my room and immediately crawled into bed, fully clothed and everything. I was too tired to worry about changing my clothes or brushing my teeth. I fell asleep immediately. It had been a long day.

The next day went by in a blur. My friends came over and helped me pack. After we ate pizza and the leftover snacks from our late night drive while watching movies. It was a light day; exactly what I needed. Tomorrow was going to be a hard day; the goodbye day. We fell asleep at about midnight surrounded by junk food and the people that I love. In my opinion, that’s one of the best ways to fall asleep. The next day was a moving day. We woke up at about 9 and started packing up my car. I didn’t have a lot to pack into my car so it wasn’t bad. At about 1 pm, I started my goodbyes. Tears were shed, mostly by me. There were a lot of people to say goodbye to. The hardest one was my high school. I had been going to that school for 7 years, middle and high school so it was hard. Most of my teachers were there to see me and some of the other students off, it was a bell creek thing. I cried as I hugged the people that made me into the student I am today. They have influenced me more than I could put into words. They were my biggest cheerleaders apart from my family and were always there for me. I owe them so much. After an hour or so, with puffy eyes and a heart full of sadness, I stepped out of that school for the last time. Before leaving, I looked back and smiled. That building holds so many memories, but I was ready to make new ones. The last place I needed to go was to my cousin’s house. From there, I start my road trip to my new home. I pulled in, and as expected, the whole family was there. I took a deep breath and headed inside. This one was gonna take forever but I didn’t mind.i loved my family.it took me 3 hours before I could even get to the outside. Alex was there, leaning against my car. ‘’How did you escape?” he asked with a grin. “I told them I had to be there by a certain time.” “I’m surprised that worked.” “me too” I chuckled. “How am I supposed to survive these people without you?” I looked at him with a straight face. “Stay as far away from them as possible” he looked at me and started laughing with me following right after. He gives me a bear hug. “Go and make me proud. And you better call me at least 0nce a week and text me every morning or I will hunt you down. Got it?” I couldn’t help but smile. “Oh don’t worry, no one is gonna steal your spot,” I say and he opens the door for me.i get in and close the door. I roll down the window and look up at Alex. “ we got this” I say. He nodded his head and waves. “See you later baby cousin,” he says as I pull out of the driveway. I shake my head and look back to see everyone outside waving me off. I continue to wave until I turn the corner to where I can’t see them anymore. I got this, I think to myself. I got this.

Leaving everything you grew up with is scary. It’s terrifying but at the same time, it’s exciting. You can try to be prepared but it’s still gonna leave you winded and a little unsure. It's gonna leave you wondering where the time went, how it all went by so fast, and how you're already going off to college or getting married. Time flies when you're having fun. So instead of wasting your time trying to slow it down, embrace it. Go on the late-night drives, spend time with your family, go to those pep rallies. Just remember to focus on the present and let the future come to you instead of trying to get to the future.

July 31, 2020 22:38

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1 comment

Ahunna Ike-Njoku
14:18 Aug 13, 2020

It's an amazing effort because I can literally relate to everything he feels about leaving home. It provides great advice to your readers as well. "Even though we were just at the restaurant together 1 prefer talking 1 on 1 so this worked out perfectly." I also assume there was an error in this sentence. Great work!!!:)

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