August had finally come. And with August comes many endings. The end of summer, the end of the water polo season, the end of late nights, the end of freedom from the stress of school, the end of spontaneous vacations, and even just the end of July. At this point, I had already gone through the end of eleven summers. I was ready for the usual preparations: going back-to-school shopping, getting our school schedules, and fixing our sleep schedules.
But the summer of 2019 had its very own special ending. An ending that had been dreaded for years. This was the year that our dinner reservations changed from a party of 6 to a party of 5, and the year I became the oldest sibling. To say the least, this was the end of Brooke. It was time for her to end her time at the only home she has ever known, to start her new life at Harvard (you read that right, she goes to Harvard University, and I know you wish you could say your sister goes to Harvard, too).
I had always known this day would come, but that didn’t stop me from pushing it to the edge of my thoughts. I was doing okay because I still had a year, and then I had months, and then finally, I only had days left. It really hit when her first box began to be packed. Brooke’s room began to look like a tsunami had come in, tossing her clothes and books everywhere. And with every tsunami comes flooding. Not only did the flood take all her belongings away, but it also brought a flood of tears.
Of course, it was hard for my parents, their oldest daughter had finally grown up and was moving out. But not one could understand the impact Brooke had on my life. She was more than just my big sister and my personal uber to school for two years; she wasn’t just another person I shared DNA with. She stood as one of my best friends, she was my blanket of comfort, she was someone I could literally slap in the face, but know she would still love me. She was and will continue to be one of my biggest inspirations.
Selfish me could only think of all the endings Brooke’s new journey brought into my life. It was the end of fighting about whose clothes are whose, screaming to music while driving, talking about our boy drama, helping each other get out of trouble, teasing our two younger sisters about us being the original daughters, and crying to her about all the stress in my life. It was the end of our 5,593-day streak of living just 3 feet away from each other.
When August 26th finally came, I knew our lives would never be the same. It was the time all the “lasts” had to happen. The last night Brooke slept at home, the last time she drove me to school, the last time I ate breakfast with her, the last hug, the last goodbye. One thing is for sure, it did not mark the last time I cried about her leaving. And now I just wait 92 days for her to come back, so we can try and backtrack on all the endings. August 26th marks an end of an era for the Hourigan sisters, but now begins the life of Brooke, 2,592 miles away from what she had known her whole life.
You hear so often that good things must come to an end, but what Brooke and I had wasn’t good, it wasn’t even great; it was perfect and perfect things shouldn’t have to come to an end.
Photo Credits: Nicole Hourigan