I got a text message from my older brother not too long ago that essentially said (in the paradoxically blithe and laconic style that typifies him): Catch-22 is so funny, why didn’t you tell me?
I did. At least I’m nearly certain that I did, how could I not? (Aside: Seriously though, Catch-22 is a book where “huh, that was nice” is an inappropriate response. The only appropriate response is a frenetic adoration that mimics the mental instability of just about anyone in the novel — end of story.)
Granted, the last time I read it was in high school and my brother and I weren’t nearly as close then as we are now. Though he’d probably narrow his eyes at “close,” and attest that our relationship follows more along the lines of “South Park’s” “I’m not your friend, buddy!”, his hypothetical argument is not wrong. But I’m digressing.
You always hear about how when you go off college, you’re going to miss your family. Which until now, I’ve understood in theory but never in practice. As a commuter student who lives at home with my parents — yes, I know, I’m so lame, let’s move past it — I really didn’t have time to miss anyone when they’re just a room away with the potential for constant haranguing hanging over my head (think Damocles with less life-threatening but equal sanity-destroying potential).
That is, until my brother moved. I won’t say I miss him because that’s too strong of a word, really. It’s more akin (pun definitely intended) to an unnerving awareness of object displacement. When you grow up with someone and they’re always there, eating ungodly amounts of pasta, blaring (albeit hip) music, bursting into rooms to talk about something with a manic urgency that makes even the most unremarkable content exciting — it’s just weird when none of it happens anymore.
I understand if you’re thinking, “Wow, get a grip.” In fact, I bet it’s nice to not talk to your parents all the time, since they seem to enjoy riddling totally unrelated conversations with academically-focused non sequiturs — “Yeah, but don’t forget to get your work done,” “Sure, but you can’t neglect your schoolwork” … repeat ad nauseam.
I also imagine that you definitely don’t miss strict rules or their inherent overprotectiveness when you’re pregaming and partying on DP with your friends at night. (That last sentence was either relatable or a pretty transparent statement of my lack of personal experience.)
Though maybe as the gut-knotting, headache-inducing specter of midterms starts to show itself, you’ll start to turn your thoughts to the support of family, like special comfort food, or the indiscriminate adoration from a pet. Or maybe you’ll turn your cellphone minutes into the best thing that happened to your mom all day — give her something to talk about to everyone she runs into for the next few weeks.
I suppose the point I’m trying to make here is that it’s okay to miss your family sometimes — and it’s equally okay if you don’t. They’d probably be happy to hear from you though, but then again, I suppose you did just see them over Winter Break…
Elena Salcido is aware that “an unnerving awareness of object displacement” is kind of cold, but if she said she missed her brother she’d never hear the end of it.