I just wanted to write something, quick and to the point before I run off the class.
I remember it clearly. We were driving to Illinois to see the Sidewalk Prophets. We were in the car and I was half talking, half shouting up to Katie and Laurie. They had asked how we had gotten so lucky, how we had picked Iida and she had fit so perfectly into our family, and if not into our family, then at least into my life. “You’re perfect for each other. How did that happen? What did you do?”
I had looked at Iida, eyes wide. She had shrugged. There had been a pause. “I think we both walked into this all wanting to be friends with each other.” I said, attempting to explain what Iida and I have. “I wanted to be friends with our exchange student and I think Iida wanted to be friends with her host sister, but…”
All I was saying meant more because of why the question had been asked. Because Katie and her family wanted to host an exchange student too and they were making their decision based off watching Iida and I, Iida and our family.
“Not all situations are like ours though.” I said, attempting to clear the air, to make my point, thinking of all the other students I knew and their host families, “We got lucky.”
I repeated those words over and over for the next months. I didn’t feel like anyone was listening to me and now I know they weren’t. I spoke to Katie last week, as we all chatted about this and that. It was amazing to see her beautiful face, to hear her voice but Zoe asked about their exchange student and Katie explained their problems, which are problems very like ones we had at the some point and in some ways, very much not like our problems at all, and then Katie went “It’s not like Iida was.”
My heart caught.
Of course not. I thought. I told you that over and over again. I told you it wouldn’t be what you had watched, experienced.
I’m not writing this because I want to capture that I was right and they were wrong though. No, no, no, no. Every situation is different, every one is hard–even ours with Iida. I’m writing this because I still think about why our situation was–is–what it is. What made us so close?
Was it because we both wanted it so badly? Was it because I needed Iida more than anything after Panama? Was it because she comes from such a large family and is used to adapting? Did something happen to us both when we were young that shifted and shaped us for the day we would meet each other? Was it because we simply spent so much time together? Was it because she came into our home and then heartbeats later, disaster struck?
What made us different? What made us so close?
I want to know why.
What makes people who are complete strangers become best friends, sisters really in a few short months. It was 2 months really. That was all it took. Maybe less. What does that?
All I know really is that I miss her. My heart aches.