Last year, when I moved into my new house, I somehow ended up with a small table that used to belong to my brother, Sam. On the bottom right corner of the table, a sticker with the quote "Where do we go when the lights go out?" sticks to the worn plastic. At first, I thought it was just a cool quote, likely about a Phish song, considering that's my brother's favorite band. But now - now it speaks to me. Now that once simple, catchy quote is something that rips me apart.
With every passing month, reality inches closer. My best friends are moving away. Seth, my final brother in the States, is moving to Israel to join my other six siblings. All of the people I have grown up with, made memories with, laughed with, cried with, done immeasurably stupid things with, partied with, they're all leaving me back in this life as they venture into their new ones.
It would take me a 2,000 page novel to explain the amazing moments I've shared with all of the people who are so close to leaving me. Maybe one day I'll get a chance to sit down and recount all that's happened to me and my friends throughout the years, but for now I must settle for constantly replaying all of the highlights of my teenage years in my head.
I don't know, I guess I'm just broken up about all of this. And what's worse is that with every passing Saturday night, as we near our last one together, we are spending them apart. I just can't imagine what it's going to be like next year when I can't call Eli or Asher anymore.
I've been telling myself that their departure would be a good thing. I've tried to convince myself that their leaving would give me a chance to strengthen my independence. I keep telling myself that I won't have a tough time without them.
But that's all a load of crap. It's going to be miserable when they all leave.
But what I'm starting to realize is that sitting around, pouting, waiting for departure day to come does no good. It's inevitable. People move on and life changes. It's one of the hardest things to come to grips with, but I suppose I really have no choice. The only thing I can do now is try to fill the gigantic voids that will be left once next school year rolls around. I'm fortunate that I have amazing friends my age to lean on when my best friends do leave me. But I don't think it will ever be the same. I can't imagine that I will have, somewhere down the road, people in my life that will mean as much to me as my best friends do now.
The big four - all headed their separate ways. Gidon - headed his separate way. All of the others - headed their separate ways. And me? I'm stuck here. I'm left to rebuild.
I guess I don't really have the right to complain about anything, but it feels nice to reminisce sometimes. It gives me a chance to reflect on how truly special my friendships have been. I mean, I've met some of the best people on earth these last 17 years. I've made memories that dementia won't even be able to pry out of my hippocampus. I've done crazy things that I know I'll tell my kids not to do one day.
There's not much I can do at this point. All there's left to do is cherish the remaining moments we have together. I'm going to take advantage of every opportunity I get from here on out to make even more memories, to do even more stupid things, to have even more fun with the ones I love.
I would take a bullet for these people, because I know they would do the same for me.
So to all of those friends who are leaving next year, I want you all to know that I love you and will miss you more than you can possibly imagine. I'm making it my mission to keep in touch with those who have changed my life - it's the least I can do. And all of the memories I've made, they will be with me until the day I die.
The lights are almost out.
Where do I go?