Blip! Blip! Blip!

I hate that sound, the sound that says that life must begin again with all its frustrations, and for a boy in middle school, despair and struggle. I fight to free myself from this mass of cotton and springs, a dear friend of mine, perhaps the only one. Does life really have to continue on like this?

"Hurry up and get dressed!" the call comes from my older sister, Emily.

These sorts of words have ceased to do much more than slow me down, through both spite and my sluggish nature. I was not born for speed, and so far breeding has done nothing to correct this. I remember repeatedly failing timed addition tests in second grade because I do not work well under time restraints. I've had superfluous amounts of homework since fifth grade because I never get it done at school. Emily has never had this sort of problem.

"Eat faster; we're going to be late again!"

"Emily, breakfast is the most important meal of the day."

"I never said it wasn't."

I check the clock after finishing my first bowl of cereal, it's seven-eighteen and it looks like I'll have to wait until lunch before I'll see anymore food. We're supposed to leave at precisely seven-twenty-one every morning, because we have to pick up our carpool and be to school by ten to eight. I can't really remember where I put my shoes; organization has never been a strong point either. I pretend like I'm following Emily out the door to appease her endless urgency. Once she has gone out, I begin the frantic search. The occasional honk does not actually speed my hunt, something my mom and sister never seem to understand. I finally find them under the table; I swear I never put them there. When I finally make it out to the car, we begin to pull out before I can get the door shut.

"This happens every day! How do I always lose you at the door? Couldn't you just put your shoes away so that you can find them again?"

Like in my closet? I don't think I'd ever look there. I try to think up something sarcastic and witty, but it's too early in the morning. So I grumble, "Yes, mother!" because that's her highest goal, to make sure I'm not lost through lack of guidance.

We get to school and I don't see Emily for the next four hours, but during my fifth period the bell for second lunch rings. She always manages to make some sort of gesture at me from the hallway, sometimes even calling out my name. She knows she can get away with this because she was my teacher's favorite student the year before. I've never had that kind of appeal and, consequently, my teacher can barely remember my name. It doesn't help that Emily is friendly and outgoing while I am awkward and usually manage to say the wrong thing. Emily always easily finds friends while this has proved very difficult for me. All this only adds to the embarrassment of being singled out by my sister in front of the whole class.

After two years of these same kinds of experiences, I began my ninth grade year; the year when Emily went to high school and I stayed in middle school. I was consistently late and loved it; I began to make real friends and even felt like the cool kid occasionally. I assumed it was because Emily wasn't standing over me every hour of the day; I was free to be myself.

High school followed, and I was on time to school every day for two more years. Emily would always drive, even after I got my license; I was not capable of driving fast enough to get to school in time for a good parking spot. It reminded me every day that Emily had potential and I was mainly spineless; there was no question of who wore the pants to school. As a result, I was excited once again at the prospect of being free of tyranny as the summer before my senior year began.

For most of this past summer, I continued to think that Emily had mostly made my life more guilt laden and less pleasant. I felt less than adequate in being compared to her, and she had always kept me in strict lines. Why shouldn't I be excited to get away from that?

I realized the morning that Emily left for college that I would never see her at breakfast again, she would never drive me to school again, and I would seldom get a good parking spot ever again. That day was one of the worst days of my life; I realized that I no longer had anyone constantly and indefinitely watching out for me. I gradually became aware that I had followed her to school almost every year since I first started preschool, and now, all of a sudden, she was gone. Over the past six years, we have spent more time together than we ever will for the rest of our lives, and I treated it like garbage.

I miss Emily now, and there is no one I would rather see on any day of the week. It's ironic, but not coincidence, that I realized this as soon as she left home. That which is easily obtained can never be fully appreciated until it becomes difficult to find, especially in cases of family relations, which seem to be interminably available up to the very hour of inaccessibility.

If I could, I would change my indifference toward the good things that I have in my life right now; as I am, I only see the costs of the present and benefits as time has passed. If I could change this about myself, I would not regret tomorrow that I did not make full use of my time today.