Careful What You Wish For This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   The start of my brother's freshman year atcollege should have been a time for me to celebrate. Now Iwould enjoy all that life had to offer an only child. It wasmy turn to claim my own bathroom, complete with ample hotwater and the toilet seat in the down position. I would enjoytwice the amount of time to talk incessantly at the dinnertable, having my parents' undivided attention. I should havebeen ecstatic. Why then was I experiencing a mammoth lump inmy throat? There, in the university parking lot, stood mysobbing parents making a spectacle of themselves. At the veryleast, I should have felt mortified. I was totally taken bysurprise. This was definitely not the way it was supposed tobe. When we finally drove away, I tried to focus on thepositive. A vacation was next, one without a rollaway bed.Somehow, this did not alleviate my awful need tocry.

When I entered my sibling-free house, I fullyexpected to take advantage of the peaceful bliss. After all,there was no loud music to contend with, at least not the kindI've always hated. Instead, I was startled by the silence. Iwas confident I only needed time to adapt. The first night wasthe most difficult. Mom continued to whimper; Dad just sat andwatched television. No words were spoken. I reminisced aboutthe unusually close relationship my brother, Damon, and I havealways had that was so atypical. Oh, yes, we fought goodfights, and frequently. I recall my brother expressing, in theheat of anger, how he wished he were still the only child.That must have been when the idea came to me. I wanted my turnat being the only child. Until that night, however, I hadn'trealized that after each argument, no matter how sensational,Damon and I always said "Good night" and "Ilove you."

In just a few short weeks, in anattempt to adjust to our new configuration, my mom, my dad andI (notice I can't use the word "family") venturedout into the world again. We took a short trip to look at acollege for me. I thought, This is when the fun begns. I hadpaid my dues, schlepping around with Damon, visiting a dozencolleges. Now it was my turn. The ride down to the Universityof Pennsylvania was pleasant enough, I guess. You know, noarguing over which fast-food place to stop at; no taking turnsusing the armrest in the back seat; no begging to stop at arestroom. The University of Pennsylvania campus was morebeautiful than I could have ever imagined. We talked with thetour guide, but still that void was present. Someone wasmissing. Being an only child was not at all what I wanted. Iyearned to have Damon there to enjoy the sights with me, tooffer his opinion. I was ready to be a little sisteragain.

Through the years, I have learned that myrelationship with my brother is special. Until he was gone, Idid not understand how special. If you asked me now how I amenjoying the privileges of being an only child, I would tellyou that having things to myself is far less enjoyable thanhaving my brother to help me through a difficult piece ofmusic. During dinner, there is too much time for me to talk.Having the toilet seat down is truly great, but not at theexpense of hearing my brother yell, "Good night"from the room next door.

I speak to my brother on thephone. It helps, but not enough. I know he's doing well, andthat makes it worth the struggle. I also know he misses me,and we try to compensate by chatting about the things we didwhen he was here. My good sense tells me this is the way lifeshould be, the natural order of things, so to speak. However,I can't help but think that if I had not wished for my turn toreign alone, I might have appreciated, the more time mybrother and I had as kids together.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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