Four years. Four years seems like a very long time for an academic timeline and life in general. Four years ago, my brother and I were back in the same school together for the very first time since elementary school—except things were a lot more different. As a senior in high school, I was experiencing the last few months of my childhood before going off to college. Meanwhile, my brother, a freshman, was experiencing everything that high school has to offer for the very first time.
Instead of taking the bus together like we did together in elementary school and separately in middle school, I drove the seven-minute drive to school and back every day with my brother excitedly taking charge of the designated car DJ. We both played varsity sports and partaken in extracurriculars, and we were able to wave at each other whenever we passed one another in the halls. All of this and more continued to happen until I graduated. In my little brother’s eyes, I left him behind.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was say goodbye to my lifelong best friend, yet here we are, four years later, reunited at the same school once again. Except now, we are away from our childhood home, the town we grew up in and our parents (him specifically) for the very first time together.
A lot has changed since we went our separate ways when I graduated high school in 2018. We lived through almost two years of a worldwide pandemic and both grew and matured because of it. We suffered great losses and experienced great triumphs that have made us into the people we are today. Though deep down, we’re still that 17-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy jamming out to music on the way to and from school four years ago. We’re still that 10-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy who would wave at each other as we passed one another in the hall; we’re just all grown up now.
It’s a source of comfort knowing that, despite being so far away from the place(s) I’ve called home, I have a piece of it just a couple of miles away. We both live our own lives, have our group of friends and social circles, but I always know that, if needed, the other will be there by our side in a number of minutes. Being a college senior is filled with a lot of lasts, but I get to vicariously experience a lot of firsts again through my freshman brother. Though I’m so excited that my brother and I are at the same school again, I know what is to come in a few short months. But I know now, though it will be hard, I’ll never really leave and he’ll never really be left behind. We’re always together, no matter the distance.