The airplane ride was longer than expected. After the 5 hour flight, we drove through the rolling hills and trees. There was only one word to describe it: green. It was breathtaking. The forty five minute drive felt more like forty five years. I couldn’t wait to see my new house. We pulled into a neighborhood with a brick sign that said, “Welcome to Falcon’s Lair”. Picket fences surrounded some of the houses, and all the front yards were huge. Finally, we found the house with the big moving truck, with large men hauling boxes inside. The house was very tall and white. It had a single point on the roof. The front yard was a huge hill that took my short 8 year old legs five minutes to climb up. As I looked at this house, I realized that this was going to be my home for a while, and hopefully we would never have to repack these moving boxes.
Taylor Swift, McDonald’s and Long Drives
Sometimes I forget how similar me and Sydney are to each other. On multiple occasions, we have been asked if we were twins, even though there is a three year age gap between us. And our resemblance doesn’t stop there. We both love doing the same things. Every time we left the house in Pennsylvania, we would make sure to get a McDonald’s medium french fry and a medium Sprite. It was like our secret tradition. And of course, we would blast music in her beat-up blue truck. Most of the time, it was Taylor Swift, much to her disapproval. At night we would just drive, and look up at the stars. We would talk about our plans for our life. Hers always included becoming a history professor. Mine were more near future plans, like what I was going to do this weekend.
But I knew that one day, she was going to leave, just like the stars do every morning. She was going to pack up her room and go to college, and I wasn’t ready for that. Don’t worry, you have time, I told myself. You have time.
Clouds Named Hope
Much to my disapproval, I had to go to school. The first week was hard. I didn’t know anybody, because Eliza went to a private school, she was smart like that. I was stuck at New Garden Elementary. I loved my teacher, Mrs. Pullie. She was nice, and I could tell she was trying to get me to make friends. But it was complicated. All the other girls were smarter and prettier and better dressed than me.
Molly, with thick blonde hair and bright blue eyes came up and talked to me. She actually talked to me! She asked me if I wanted to go play soccer with her during recess. My initial reaction was to decline and just sit on the swings. But I knew that I had to make Pennsylvania work.
Sure, I said. We played soccer like it was the least important thing on the planet. We talked about our new teacher and the lunch we had that day. By the end of recess we were both lying in the grass laughing until our stomachs hurt, making out the shapes in the clouds. And in those clouds, I saw hope.
The performance for Joseph and that Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat was tonight, and I was full of nerves. All day it felt like electricity was bouncing through my veins, anticipating opening night. I sat backstage waiting for them to call places. All of my hard work was about to be worth it. My parents would see how I had been spending my time every day. This was something that I truly wanted, performing on stage for hundreds of people. These character shoes were going to carry me to my future. The one I wanted.
Memories Never to be Forgotten
I was often asked, do you like Pennsylvania or Arizona better? That was a tricky question. To be honest, I never really thought about it. Arizona had extended family and old friends and pools and neighborhood parties. But Pennsylvania had seasons and new friends and snow and greenery. It was impossible to pick. But as the years went by, I started to forget about Arizona, and the experiences I had there. I started to forget how much I loved it when I lived there.
My dad would remind me that Arizona was wonderful and would tell me stories of when I was little. Like when I would go to the mountains with my cousins and we had a cousins fort. I loved that fort. My mom would remind me of my grandpa’s huge tree where I would sit on the tire swing or climb the tree for ours. I made so many memories on that tree. And I never wanted to forget them.
Long Walks and Turning Corners
Those moving boxes ended up getting packed up again. After 6 wonderful years of friends and hikes and new experiences, we had to move again to California. And on top of that, Sydney was going to college in the fall. This would be a summer of change.
I promised myself I would never forget the memories I made or the people I met or how much I loved Pennsylvania. I knew that this wasn’t really goodbye. I knew that one day I will see these friends again, maybe at college, or maybe at their wedding, or maybe at their funeral. I knew that these were going to be lifelong connections, and that these people had changed me for the better.
I don’t know what California has in store for me and I feel like I am just walking blindly through a path, not able to see what is around the corner. I just hope that whatever it is, it will be great.