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She’s Leaving Home

Darya Farah Foroohar

September 21st, 2020


My suitcases are packed. Boxes filled with everything from cleaning supplies to fairy lights sit next to my front door, waiting to be loaded into a car that will take me away from the city I’ve lived in for over 13 years. I leave for college tomorrow, and even though this year has shown that the ‘college experience’ will be nothing like countless coming of age movies have depicted it, I still feel those same feelings of apprehension and excitement that transcend time.

For me, though, the excitement much outweighs the apprehension. Even though a lot of classes will be online, I’ll still be on campus, my courses are really interesting, and I’ve met people I like through social media. Normally I’d get stressed out over all the things I didn’t know going into a situation, but now I’m much more relaxed. After all, everyone is in the same boat. My optimism has surprised my parents, who have remarked on how “mature” I’ve become. Maturity, however, is the one thing I don’t really see sprouting overnight. I turned 18 yesterday, and the only difference I feel is the sudden pressure to be more adult. But as long as I’m convincing other people, I guess I can figure out how to actually be an adult along the way.

My parents don’t need much convincing. They’ve been especially sentimental these past few weeks, saying how lonely they’ll be and how the house will feel empty when I’m gone. Even my little brother, who normally just cracks jokes and shows me memes, told me that he’d miss me.

A few days ago, I was talking to my mother, and suddenly she wrapped her arms around me, buried her head in my chest, and whispered, “things will never be the same.”

“It’s okay,” I told her. I’m usually one to obsess over all the little changes that happen, but now that my parents are the ones contemplating the passage of time, I couldn’t let myself be sucked in as well. I know this moment is pivotal to my development as a person and a member of society, but I just can’t seem to comprehend it in its magnitude. A part of me doesn’t want to, is afraid of what the revelation will do to the way I process the world. It’s like a wave, the enormity of the moment looming up in front of me but never crashing down. I’m afraid if I let it crash, if I let myself feel like I’m truly an adult now, I’ll drown.

Right now, in the last few moments I spend in my childhood home, I’m not doing anything too out of the ordinary, but going about my normal day with the knowledge that my world will soon change. Maybe I’ll swallow a bit of water as I swim, gasping for air in my new environment. But I’m too eager to dive in to keep myself away from the waves.

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