In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
— Robert Frost
The night before I left for college for the first time, I cried. I cried like I spoke fluently in tear ducts, like that cloggy nose and those sheet twisting sobs were the truest way for me to say goodbye.
And tomorrow morning, at six o’clock, I will have to say goodbye again: my brother Zach will return to the Naval Academy.
Now, I’ve had my soul cleaved like this a number of times, but it never really gets easier. You learn to expect the physical manifestations, get better at controlling them, but the pain, that Sunday evening hollowness, that breath knotting absence, never lets you be.
And only time can salve the wound.
Fortunately, I still have my sister to hang around with (poor her) and my parents (lucky them), but I will certainly miss my brother. From the sore backs of video game marathons, to the ongoing (but never maturing) competitions of wit, or the laughter caused just because the world turns, life in Portland will be a lot different without him.
I could spend countless words here extolling him as a brother, as a son, as an up and coming naval officer, but words here would be nothing more than the finely ironed (and eloquently composed) suit around the man. But to know his character, you must encounter what embodies it.
As I grow—as everyone grows—life necessarily draws apart, re-closes, intertwines and overlaps, and finally comes back together at the point it first began. And that is just something I will have to acknowledge and be thankful for.
So this post is for you, Zach…even though we all know you’ll probably never read it—next time I’ll put some explosions and scantily clad women in it to get your attention.
And to you my reader, I hope you have someone like my brother. Someone that you dread to see depart, but glow alight the moment you’re reunited.