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Home Alone

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I sit quietly at the dinner table staring at the two empty seats next to me expecting to hear the garage door open and for another family member to walk in. However, the door doesn’t open and I turn back to the soup sitting in front of me. This routine found a way into my life each night at dinner. I began living with one sister 2,468 miles away, and the other 254 miles away.

Becoming an only child at home became reality and I soon realized how much I was going to dislike it. My sister, Sam, left late this August to go to college all the way in California. My other sister, Anna, had previously left 3 years earlier to attend the University of Maryland. The first few weeks didn’t feel particularly out of the ordinary, they simply just felt like they were away on a trip or not around. Nonetheless, that feeling would soon change. I realize my parents also felt the same way. I observe my mom’s face light up a bit every time she saw the same grey car on our street that my sister used to drive. However, it wasn’t her and that car was not going to drive up our driveway.

I notice the leftover dinner portions that were essentially made for someone who was not there, be thrown away in the garbage can. I observe the way my dad seems to walk to the bigger car in the garage, seating 7, when we went out for family dinner. A few seconds later I watch him take an awkward step in the opposite direction to walk towards the smaller car, seating only 4. I even observe the way my dog acts when we would go on walks or all be sitting around watching a football game. She seems to always be looking around, expecting to see more people to lick and love. At night I notice her walk into my sister’s old room, looking for her to jump up next her on the bed. Seconds later, she would walk out after realizing no one was in that room.

Over the next few weeks, is when the change in dynamic became apparent to me. I found myself often bored, not knowing where to go or what to do. All summer, my sisters and I went to dinner, concerts, swimming pools, hikes, and other exciting places. Now, I had nowhere to go and no one to be with. My time began to clear up after I realized I had no priorities or activities other than my own. Generally, the house was quieter; after all, I had no one to argue with anymore. At night, I lie in my bed and listen to the mocking silence that I longed for when someone was in the room next to me walking around and listening to music. I no longer want to hear the muteness so I close my eyes to another dead silent night of sleep. I wake up in the same silence that ridiculed me the night before.

Other days, I start to wonder what it will be like in 9 months when they come home for the summer months. Will the whole dynamic of my family go back to its old ways? I worry that the dynamic will not change at all when they finally come home. After all, college does change and mature people, what if they do not want to hang out with their annoying little sister anymore? However, I also hope that maybe it will be even better than before. I have learned to cherish the little time I now have with my siblings and it helps to make all the time we have together precious. I cannot help but have a little bit of sympathy for myself. Being the last kid at home definitely has its downside. When my oldest sister left, it was hard, but not as difficult as when they both left and moved away. I wonder what it would be like if I had a younger sibling to keep me company at home. Would my parents also feel different? All these thoughts are constantly running through my brain all the time. However, I have learned through this experience to cherish my family and to enjoy the little memories that help to get through the lonely times in life.

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