Hey you, the sibling that ditched us midway!
When you first said that you were moving out, nothing happened. One, because your threats of leaving us forever were as old as Adam and Eve, two, because, well, as siblings, it was our first and foremost duty to ignore anything you said.
But the day your visa arrived, reality hit us hard! Really hard! It was like that sudden punch you hit me with, during those fake wrestling matches we had every time we were home alone. It triggered pain somewhere deep inside, but I wanted to be brave and play along. Every time you didn’t listen to us, we would tell you to leave as soon as possible. It was like those times in childhood when during a fight over the TV remote we would shout at each other to die as soon as possible and whisper “God forbid’ in our hearts.
I thought seeing you off would be the hardest part, but I was wrong. The toughest part was yet to come! The most difficult part of it was coming home and not finding your clothes sprawled across your bed, your fragrance lurking in the air but no trace of your sight or sound, looking at your pile of old books waiting to be given away, finding my old pen in your stationary drawer you swore you had no idea about, looking at your old toothbrush in your surprisingly (and sadly) clean washroom. You didn’t just take away the material things with you. You took along so much more!
You took along a part of mom’s will to be sarcastic, dad’s love for scolding, the little one’s reluctance to share his food with you and my obsession of cleaning your room, but most importantly you took along a piece of our hearts.
The silence that prevailed spoke to each of us individually, in an extremely deafening voice: it spoke of the midnight birthday surprises which you won’t be a part of anymore or your favorite food becoming our favorite from that day onward, or the minute traces you left behind for all of us. You leaving was much more than just a person moving out: it was a phase of life coming to an end. It was the end of smuggling food into the house, it was the end of keeping secrets and blackmailing each other, it was the end of supporting each other in an argument with mom and dad. It was the beginning of learning the art of letting go.
It reminded me of the line from “Life of Pi”:
“In the end, the whole life is an act of letting go.”
We fight to hold on and we fight to let go.
I wish you bad luck for all your endeavors so that you have no other option but to come back home (God forbid).
The sibling you left behind to deal with the crazy family.