I have a tendency to hyper fixate on endings. Where people's minds will avoid like the plague, mine will naturally wander, settle in, and build an eerie little home.
My parents are going to die one day.
There's no poetic spin. This is the one inescapable fate for everyone that I love. Daniel dying young just made me conscious of something that was always there, so thinly veiled behind the scenes- constantly lurking, just never acknowledged.
The fact that you'll never know that the last time is the last time.
Suddenly I'm 16 again and dripping with teenage angst. I storm to my room and lock the door behind me, safe in my little cocoon. The only thing illuminating the space is the light from my cellphone, dinging with notifications from the group chat.
There's a party tomorrow night.
The only obstacle? My parents.
I see them as the barriers to my freedom. Something I need to overcome to achieve the Teenage Dream that Katy Perry promised me. I yearn for the experiences that make adrenaline pump through my veins. I look at my life and I want more. More spontaneity. More freedom. More adventure.
I'm constantly tugged between my traditional upbringing and the teenage reality that I'm growing up in. So I rebel. And I sneak out. And I lie. And I try desperately to make my parents understand that I can be both the well-mannered daughter and the life of the party, that multiple truths can coexist, and I don't have to forsake one identity to pursue the other.
But they grew up in a different time. So I'm destined to be stuck in this state of perpetual misunderstanding. Doomed to crave a life that seems so far away from me right now. And all I can do is promise myself that one day, I'll have the adventure that consumes my thoughts. That one day, I won't have to be picked up from the party right when it's just begun. That one day, I'll finally be the most audacious person that I know.
It's ten years later and by all intents and purposes, I'm finally free. I travel all the time. I moved abroad. I have my own apartment. I have the life that I've always pictured for myself.
I used to think my parents not being able to sleep until I got home was a hinderance to my ability to sneak out. I used to think that my parents insisting on talking to people's parents when I got dropped off at a party was embarrassing. I used to think my parents always calling me was a buzzkill. What I had once viewed as shackles were never really the restraint that I thought they were. Their love and protection are ultimately what prepared me to feel ready to face the world on my own.
And when I finally realize that, I'm SO far away from them. I worry that in my pursuit of travel that I'll miss so much of their lives. While they're still here and still healthy. While I still have a chance to hold them and kiss them and tell them everything that angsty teenage me could never muster up the strength to. I regret every time I put my headphones on in the car instead of telling them about my day. I regret every time I declined their phone call because I thought what I was doing with my friends was more important. I regret not opening up to them more because I thought they wouldn't understand.
When did I grow up? When did I switch places with them? I now nurture them the way I know they nurtured me. I watch after them and make sure they're eating healthy. I nag them to make sure that they're getting enough sleep. I carry things for them so that they don't strain themselves.
Like maybe if I take care of them just enough, I'll get longer with them. I'll get to catch up on the time I didn't take advantage of as a teenager. When the ending comes, and I become hollow where my heart should be, I just want to be able to know that we made the most of our little piece of forever.
You're not gone yet, but I'm already drowning in the feeling of missing you.
Always with love,