“Do you have everything Molly? Your ticket, yes, oh and your passport, where’s your passport, you’ve lost it, haven’t you?”
“It’s right here, Mum.” I pulled the red leather bound booklet out from my jacket pocket, waving it in front of her face, close enough to wipe away the tears that stained her cheeks.
“Alright well, be safe now, call us as soon as you get there okay... make sure the administration knows who you are and check that the dorm is clean and everything-” I wrapped my arms around her, squeezing until her words turned into heavy breaths. “See you at Christmas, darling.”
Dad held his arms across his chest, the collar of his shirt sticking up and out of place. I reached over with one arm, ready for a light embrace. As he pulled me up into his arms my suitcase thudded to the polished airport floor. He lifted me up until my feet hovered. He spun me around like the little girl he still saw me as, the way we used to twirl together at my childhood birthday parties, getting tangled in my pale pink tutus. My friends would stand in the corner, jealous looks painted over their faces.
“You’ll be fine, chick.” Another childhood tradition.
“Kailee...” I ran my hand over my little sister’s face, her eight year old hands clinging onto mine.
“Don’t leave. Who’s gonna braid my hair in the morning?”
I crouched down and gazed into her deep hazel eyes as I spoke. “Mum can do it.” She shook her head with such force; I couldn’t hold back the tears. Strands of her dirty blonde hair stuck to the sweat on my palm as I stroked her. We didn’t say anything, neither of us had the words. As I pulled away, I planted a single kiss on her forehead and ran my finger over her cheeks. My hands absorbed her tears like a memory that I’d never be left without. I looked at her for the last time and blinked twice. In those two blinks, I wanted to let her know that I’d still be there. I’d still be there to help her choose the perfect hairclip to match her outfit and I’d still be there to help her reach the cookie jar when Mum had hidden it out of her reach. I’d still be there for all the friendship struggles and I was just a phone call away for all the boy troubles that were bound to come sooner rather than later. She mirrored my actions, blinking twice to show me that understood.
And, with that, I checked my passport for the last time and got swallowed up by the security scanners. By the time I’d turned around, I couldn’t see them anymore.