I had forgotten what it was like here. Being home for a month had left me distracted by the dog and my best friend and my parents and my little brother’s infectious laugh and my older brother’s eyes twinkling across the dinner table. I had fallen back in love with the Bay Area, and the entire beautiful idea of home.
So I forgot what it was like here.
When I got onto my plane at OAK on Monday, I was tired, and I already missed my mom. My phone was low on battery, and the book I was reading was at a slow, depressing spot. In short, I wasn’t in a great mood. I wasn’t sure I was ready for a second semester. I wasn’t sure I was ready for independence again.
Then the shuttle pulled up in front of Wheelock, and there, waiting on the sidewalk with grins about to split their faces open, were two of my closest friends here. People who love me. People who laugh with me. People who make me whole.
I got out of that van as fast as was humanly possible, and I ran straight into their arms. Their lingering hugs filled me with the same warm sweet feeling that I thought I could only get from my mom stroking the back of my head or my dad telling me he as proud of me. I was filled with the kind of love that I thought I only feel for family. But then, maybe I do. Maybe I just found a college family.
That night, we told stories from when we were kids. The funny ones, the ones that you hear over and over again at every family event, every birthday dinner. The ones you hear late at night, lingering at the table. And we laughed.
Oh god, did we laugh. So hard it ached. So hard tears came to our eyes. Those childhood stories are our starting points, our personal histories. They show who we were before we were fully formed. They show how we are put together.
The names of our first dogs. Our mothers’ pet peeves. Our fathers’ dumbest jokes.
We are starting to make our own told and re-told stories. That one time we stayed up until almost 6 am, just talking. The day we made a Shabbat dinner. When we made cookies at midnight.
And I realized.
Someday, when we’ve all graduated and moved on, when we are older and more mature and more educated, when we’re real adults, we’ll all be lingering at the table, laughing about these days. These moments. Laughing about these four precious years of our lives.
I remember now. I remember what it’s like here. I remember how lucky I am.