My best friend returns
JARED LANDThis school year has been a lot different for me than any other before. The workload is harder, sports have eaten up much of my time and I finally started to drive myself to school. One thing has really marked a significant change in my life, though. Last August was the first month that I had to start waking up and going to school without my sister, Rachael.
Published: May 16, 2012
Published: May 16, 2012
After her graduation from Sebring High School, I knew things would be different. Rachael was heading to the University of South Florida in Tampa to major in mass communications. Tampa seemed so far away. I knew she was ready to leave, but I didn't know if I was ready yet.
As children, my sister and I fought every day. We argued over chores and the TV remote and who got to eat the last cookie. We are both very stubborn and these disputes often lasted hours or even days.
Name calling was common and many vows of silence against the other were made. These promises, however, were never kept. We always resorted to friendly contact to get things we wanted or needed from the other.
As we grew older though, our relationship evolved. My sister and I shared many of the same experiences in middle and high school. It became very easy for us to connect to each another and the arguments became more and more infrequent.
For the past three years, I have considered Rachael my best friend. We helped each other with the chores and split TV time — I got all of the last cookies due to her recently diagnosed gluten allergy.
Of course we've had our differences, just like any best friends. These disagreements no longer become fights, though. We debate our opinions and often learn from the other. These conversations usually end in laughter and the ultimate reason for the argument is quickly forgotten.
We ask each other for advice and always require any potential boyfriend or girlfriend to be approved. I hang out with her friends all the time and she knows mine personally (though they probably wish they could spend more time with her). Among her friends, I am known as "Rachael's fun little brother" and to my friends she's my "all-knowing, college-age" sister. Anyone close to us knows the bond we share.
It took a long time to become accustomed to her absence. For the first time in 15 years I woke up alone, got ready for school, and left an empty house. Again, when my parents came home from work and went to bed, the house felt desolate. Dinner was a constant reminder of the immense change as my parents and I unsuccessfully tried to fill the seats of our rectangular table. Facebook and phones kept a line of communication open, but it wasn't the same. My sister was gone. As was my tutor, mentor, partner in crime and best friend.
Last week, my sister returned home, and not a moment too soon! It's easy for those around me to see how excited I am. Every morning when I wake up I run into her room and yell "good morning!" I have even asked her every day for the past week to come eat lunch with me at school — I'm sure she will say yes eventually.
I have been looking forward to this summer since the day Rachael left and now that it's almost here, I am beginning to dread its end. A new school year means another goodbye to my best friend.