Just a little background.
Calvin is my younger brother, who has held a very important position in my heart. This year my brother sent me a memoir as a birthday present. In my personal opinion Calvin is a talented writer. At this time he doesn’t write much because of his responsibilities. He is a new father and a new business owner. I hope in the future that he writes more.
I was 9 years old when you went on your mission to South Africa. The world was big place to me – and I am talking about Utah. I couldn’t fathom some place as far away as Africa. We went to the Salt Lake City airport as a family the day you left the Missionary Training Center. I was excited to see the planes, but mostly I wanted to see you. I remember that I hardly got to see you because I was competing with everyone else for the few minutes of time that we had. I don’t remember what you said to me, but I remember the distinct realization that my world was changing forever.
You got on the plane and everything was still exciting. I probably was still acting brave and waving at you with my arms and smiling with my crooked teeth when I saw you disappear down the jet bridge. It felt like it took forever for the plane to leave the gate. It slowly backed up and then turned to the side. I stood with the rest of the family and watched, desperately hoping to see your face in a window. When the plane turned to the side I spotted you. You were in the window as dad had said. I saw you waive your hand and we all waived back vigorously.
The plane moved away and I ran with Jeff and Ben to the end of the terminal so that we would not lose sight of it. Fortunately, the terminal was situated close to the runway. I watched as you waited in line for takeoff. It was was becoming real. You were leaving. The plane situated itself at the end of the runway and then began its slow crawl. I watched it accelerate down the runway and gently lift its nose into the air. It looked like so much work and then all of a sudden the plane was as light as air. We ran to the other side of the terminal again as the plane accelerated past us. It was heading north. I watched as it got smaller and smaller then it turned left into a wide circle. The plane was turning and turning and soon it was heading in the complete opposite direction. It became smaller and smaller as it maneuvered away from me.
We had to move again so that we could follow the plane, but it was getting harder to see you. I could feel the panic setting in as the plane become so small it was nearly invisible. By this time we had moved to a hallway between gate areas. It was the only place with a view in your direction. There was a lump growing in my throat and I didn’t know how much longer I could swallow it when abruptly the plane changed its course. It banked to the left and flashed in the sunlight as it quickly moved out of sight of every window that I could find. You were gone.
When the plane disappeared, my heart broke. All of my strength and courage left me. It was real. You had left. Everything had changed.
I was embarrassed by my tears, but it didn’t matter. They wouldn’t stop. We walked back to the car, I was still crying. I didn’t speak, mostly because I couldn’t. Mom said something about me losing my second mother. It didn’t comfort me, but I was glad that my sorrow was recognized as being real. As we drove away from the airport I was able to gain some composure. My heart didn’t feel any better, but my eyes had run dry of tears. We drove straight from the airport to our home in Farm Creek. I pretended to sleep most of the way. I wondered if I would ever see you again.
As we returned home, dark clouds followed us. By the time we made it to Farm Creek it had started to rain. I sat in my room as the rain pounded on the metal roof. There was thunder. I had to face my biggest fear alone. That night I wrote you a poem. At first, the words were a distraction. I imagined how you would hear them and think of how smart I was for having constructed them alone. I finished the poem, and read it over a few times. My eyes drained again.
I showed the poem to mom. I was surprised that it touched her. We sat on the sofa, she held me in her arms and we cried together. For the moment, I thought maybe everything was going to be okay.
Rain drops I hear on the roof are so lonely
they’ll make me miss you from night until morning
I’ll love you for years, a life time, or more
But then you must say goodbye
And then I start to cry
I love you
I love you
I love you