Far too many times do we hear people say, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.’ And far too many times, we take that for granted.
After 9 and a half years, I’m moving to a new country again. And this time, by myself. Apart from my friends, my home and my roots, I’m leaving my family. It’s been hitting me a little by little throughout summer, and there’s definitely been so many streaks of realization and times of reflection. But it really, really did it hit me, yesterday.
And today, at this moment, I’m sitting in an airport terminal in a different country already, about to board my next flight to my next place of living for the next 4 years.
Yesterday, I went out with my friends for the millionth time this summer to say a good bye to them. It was only for about 2 hours for lunch or so, and I came back home. My brother was in the shower when I did come back and apparently when he came from school, he ran to my room to check if I was there first things first and then, ran to my cousin and asked her when I was coming back. When he heard I was coming back in a bit, his face lit up and just before running to take a shower before I came back, he told her he was going to miss me so much, teared up but didn’t want me to know because I’d feel worse; he literally warned her to skip office the next day to spend time with me; he told her that it was important they did whatever I wanted that day because it was the last day I had time with him and apparently, just looked at her with a half-smile with his big eyes. And the second I came home, he ran to me, gave me a hug and asked me if I wanted to play our family ritual of Monopoly. When he was setting it up, that’s when my cousin told me this whole story and from that moment on, I couldn’t and wouldn’t stop tearing up far more regularly than I already had.
It’s a story that’s simple as ever. But that’s the point.
Our relationship was always so simple. I just never seemed to realize.
As natural as it may be, my brother and I used to fight a lot – it was mostly always my fault and my temper kicking it off, in all honesty. But more than that, I don’t think I’ve ever paid attention to how much my little brother really means to me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved him through thick and thin – he’s family.
But I never realized that he was my favorite person on this whole entire planet.
Ever since last evening until the moment I had to give him one last hug before college starts, I’ve maxed my time with him and I’m filled with regrets.
Why didn’t I spend a longer chunk of my summer with him?
Yeah, we had the best family vacation in Kerala for a week, and a trip to my grandmother’s house for another week.
But apart from that, did I really connect soul to soul, heart to heart with him throughout the three months?
Throughout my life?
With a few exceptions to random days in between, the answer is no, I haven’t.
We would always play cards, board games, talk, watch shows everyday, laugh at random things, just like siblings would all the time. I kiss him good night every night, and sometimes, just end up looking at him and think about how grateful I am to have him. But that’s not what I really mean. It’s just, I don’t think I’ve ever fully realized how much of charm, a gem, a gift from God he is to me and my family.
And if I did, everything would’ve been so much different, so much easier.
I had a great summer, I really did. But I wish every evening I did come home after a great day out with my friends, I went and slept in my little brother’s lap or played an extra game of Monopoly with him or just talked to him about life everyday throughout. Or I just wish I didn’t have to Skype or message around, when I could’ve spent the time with him.
I’m a very emotional girl. I’ve been crying so much throughout summer, thinking about the fact that I’m leaving. I cried throughout yesterday, causing puddles of tears sinking through my brother’s shorts, leading him to whisper to my cousin that it was tickling and he didn’t know what to do. I cried throughout today, when I just looked at his beautiful eyes and wondered how I could never see into that innocence every time we fought. And then there’s him, who’s been crying when no one’s looking because he wants to be strong for me. He cried in the car but covered it up with making a silly face and said, he didn’t want it to show. But then, I cried and he cried so hard when I held him tight in one big tight hug, thinking it was my last hug for a while. And then ran back and hugged him again. And then again. And then that was it.
I don’t think I’ll stop tearing up or stop crying any time soon.
And you know what? Maybe that’s okay.
Maybe I needed this.
And maybe, this distance was always needed. Because sometimes, you need a reminder to shake you the important things in life. And maybe, this distance will only make things better and make our relationship hold itself so much stronger.
It obviously hurts so much, it hurts so freaking much. But life is full of lessons that need to be learnt.
I’m not losing my brother to anyone; he’s right here, and will always be. He’s physically distant thousands of miles away, but our hearts aren’t. And I’ll make sure of it.
Besides, when me and my baby brother were crying earlier today, my dad held us tight and told me some words that I’m hoping will give me enough strength, motivation and inspiration to keep me going.
He told me that he has regrets and he used to have fears. And not being able to surpass them hurt him and haunted him through the past and till today. But seeing me, someone who carries his blood, his legacy, be able to take on some of the things that he hadn’t, makes him proud. And as all of us birds have dreams and places we want to go to, it’s important we don’t tie those wings down only to combat those emotions. Because love is important, but so is raising those wings, flying above it all and conquering your world. Plus, my little brother needs an example he can connect to – and if that has to be me, then I’ll do it all to make sure he has the right example.
I’m still not strong enough to cope up with this whole change and this new life, but I hope I’ll get there. I hope the next 4 years in this new place will be worth the fight.
But no, this place is not going to be my real home.
Because home is where heart is.
And my heart is all set in the tucked in hold of my brother’s innocence, my dad’s warmth, my mom’s hugs, my dog’s incessant wagging of her tail and the laughs of everyone else who means the most to me.
But it’s so important to remember that this home isn’t running away anywhere. Despite the places I go and the roads I take, I’ll always find my way back home.