Meg was holding her bags tightly, looking at me with her soft blue eyes. She looked scared, yet excited.
We didn’t say anything, both of us just staring at each other. Suddenly, I could hold back the question that was killing me.
“Why do you have to leave?” I said, relieved the question is off my chest.
Meg smiled, yet it was a pained smile. “I have to, you know. Follow my dreams, and my dreams aren’t here,” she said, waving her hands across the city.
I must have looked destroyed because she put her hand lightly on my shoulder. “Don’t worry. It’s not like I’m gone forever,” she said, looking at me softly.
I stared back at her. The horn rang, and it was time for Meg to leave.
“Goodb-” she began to say.
“When will you come back?” I blurted out.
She smiled a small smile. “Maybe during the holidays. I’ll have to ask my boss though. By-” she began to say.
“Can I come with you?” I said quickly, looking at her with tears in my eyes.
She put her hand lightly on my cheek. “No, Andy. You belong here, in the city. I belong elsewhere. Goodby-” she started to say.
“How do you know that though?” I said, looking at her with raised eyebrows, my eyes no longer able to hold my tears.
She looked shocked. She reached up, brushing the tears off my face. She spoke with gentleness in her voice, yet I thought I saw the tiniest bit of annoyance flash across her eyes. I assumed I imagined it, because the next second, her eyes were back to normal. “I just do,” she said.
The horn sounded again. She had to leave, or she would miss the trip. She hugged me and left for her dreams.
Meg was always there for me. She was never not there. When I had arm surgery and had to go to the hospital, she was there by my bed, singing and laughing and smiling even though she was supposed to be in school. She had an adventurous soul. She could never stay still, always had to be fidgeting with something. Her hair was straight platinum blonde while mine was unruly dirt blonde. Her hair always stood out, a light in the dark. Her smile lights up the world. She was the person who everyone wanted to be friends with.
I am the opposite. I am the silent type, the kid who never spoke. I'm not brave or outgoing. I melted into the shadows whenever I wasn’t speaking, which was rare. I am shy, didn’t like sports. I only liked one thing. Drawing. I would draw for hours on end, sketching things that would never happen, like fish flying or me finding my voice. I became what I drew, became my sketches. I would draw my dreams and hopes, wishing they would come true.
Meg was the only person I felt comfortable around, the only person whom I trusted. She understood me, even though she was the opposite of me. I never got invited to parties, and she would always ditch whatever she was doing to keep me company. She was once invited to go on a trip with her class, but when she realized that I would be home alone if she went, she immediately said no. No matter what I would say, she wouldn’t change her mind.
“Please, Meg. Don’t stay here just because I’m gonna be here alone. I know how much you want to go. Please, go with your friends,” I pleaded with her.
She waved me off. “Oh, don’t be silly. That’s just some dumb class trip. I would rather stay here with you,” she said, hugging me and reaching for the remote.
We spent the rest of the morning watching musicals and eating ice cream. I hated musicals, but Meg loved them, and I wanted to make up for her not going on the trip. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. I jumped up and walked towards the door.
“Andy, don-” Meg began to say.
I swung open the door, and Jake was standing on the porch.
“Oh, hi Andy!” he said, looking shocked,” I came here to get Meg. You know where she is?” he asked, craning his neck into the house.
Meg ran towards the door. She gave Jake a dangerous glare I have never seen before.
“I thought I told you to cancel. I’m not coming,” she said, her voice cold.
“You did?” Jake asked looking confused, “Um, you never said.”
Meg gave him a look that could melt ice. “Well, I’m saying it now!” she said, slamming the door shut.
Meg walked back to the couch, and I followed her, confused.
“Meg, what was he talking about?” I asked, my voice small.
Meg gave me an annoyed look. “Nothing,” she snapped.
I was shocked. I’ve never seen her angry before.
“It doesn’t sound like nothing. He said if you were ready to go somewhere, and before that, you were starting to say to not open the door,” I said.
Meg looked angry, then her anger blew out of her. “Jake… he was going to ask if I wanted to go to the mall with, uh, friends. I made plans before… um… I forgot to cancel,” she said, not looking at me.
I was going to argue back, but I let it go. Maybe she was telling the truth. Maybe she wasn’t. How was I supposed to know?
Her dreams mirrored who she was. Meg was a helpful person, a girl who always want to be involved. She moved from Tallahassee to Brazil to study endangered animals. When I asked why she wouldn’t stay here and study endangered animals, she smiled sadly.
“Andy, you have to understand. Just because I grew up here doesn’t mean I am meant to be here,” she said.
I never understood her. I never understood why she was so eager to leave. Leave the city. Leave our home. Leave me.
Even after Meg left, I always remember her, the short moments we had together. I always took those moments for granted, and it is my biggest mistake to this day. Meg would always try to make me laugh whenever I was in one of my moods. She was the only one I loved and appreciated. She was the light of my world. She was the best sister and friend I could have hoped for.
Was. Past tense can hurt more than being stabbed with a dagger.