The Empty Corner Room by J. H., New City, NY
Last August, my family and I drove up to Cornell University to take my brother to college, but my parents were not quite prepared themselves. My brother was nervous, my parents were horrified and I was extremely depressed.
Andrew and I are very close and always have been. We rarely fought, but there were those rare occasions when he tortured me by feeding me mashed peas, the food I hate most. Still, he was always by my side when I needed help with homework or anything school-related. I always ran to him when there were family problems.
The four-hour drive seemed to last forever. Driving on the same thruway almost the whole way could not have been more boring, but the techno music and rap pumping and the excitement in the car kept us going like the Energizer bunny. Trees, trees and more trees were everywhere. Lakes, rivers and ponds too. Diners, gas stations and ice cream parlors. I was sick of the outdoors by the time we reached the Cornell campus.
Cornell was not too different from the "outside world," except that waterfalls, gorges, gardens and museums covered its amazing grounds. Thousands of students and cars bustled through the campus streets trying to find their dormitories. Some crazy teenagers actually jumped off cliffs into cold water gorges 10 stories high, for fun.
It took us an hour to get Andrew's belongings up to his small dorm room with the help of some Cornell students. Halfway through setting everything up, my brother's roommate appeared with his parents. Richard seemed like a nice guy, low key, just like my brother. He was six feet tall, dark brown hair, dark, warm eyes and a good dresser, I might add. My brother and Rich did not talk much to start with, but when they did, they mumbled and it was impossible for anybody to understand what they were talking about. After three hours of organizing their small room, we were all exhausted and hungry, but relieved the toughest part of the trip was over.
The last few hours of the weekend we spent in my brother's room, making sure everything was set up. It was time for our final goodbye. It was my dad's turn first. He told my brother not to worry and they shook hands and gave each other a tight, warm hug. Then I reached out, taking hold of his skinny body and said: "I love you." Finally came the moment my mom was dreading. She gave Andrew a hug and kiss and wished him all the luck possible. And that's when the tears came.
Driving home that night, I began realizing how special my brother really is to me. We may have our disagreements, but they all seemed pushed aside, like blocks in shuffleboard. At my house now, there is no more loud music, no more sweet smelling cologne, but there is a love that I will always cherish not too far from home.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.