It’s been a month since my trip to D.C. for JSA and I am still as sad as I was the day I left the captivating city. For my English class, I was asked to write a piece on loss or heartbreak. Having recently arrived from D.C. I wrote about the heartbreak I felt leaving the city and the wonderful people I met.
I’ve experienced unexpected heartbreaking moments; it is not an uncommon feeling. People feel the crippling sensation of heartbreak for different reasons. I thought leaving my mother would cause me the most heartbreaking experience that weekend; consequently, I cried on my connecting flight when she called. Her voice trembled for the first time in months, and it hit me: I wouldn’t be able to see her for four days. It was the first I have ever gone out of the state without her or without someone from the family. This trip was a big deal for me, for her, for our relationship. I realized three days into the trip leaving her and leaving the comfort of home and being on my own for the first time weren’t the worst parts of it all.
Ohio, Arizona, Tampa, Naples—all these places sent their best and brightest minds to explore. What did all of these students have in common? They earned the opportunity to explore a stunning city, a vast range of topics in politics, and a new group of people they will never forget. Many found love during the trip—they found love for the city and they found love for the budding friendships. No one expected the most amazing part of the trip—creating bonds with new friends—to be become the worst part. Because everyone was enjoying themselves, because everyone was emerged into the environment, because everyone was so focused on the event, each and every individual was hit with the startlingly reality of having to go home when that last night came around.
On the last morning I realized I would be leaving and arriving at the same destination: home. If home is where the heart is, then I could safely say my home is spread through the country. Each relationship that formed during the trip took a piece of my heart that would carry on for as long as I remember them. Physically, I was prepared to go home; emotionally, not at all. I had my suitcase packed since the night before, and my clothes for the flight back were neatly folded on top of the dresser waiting for me. As I shot out of the hotel bed my mind was plagued with one thought—hurry to have time to say farewell.
Teenagers, usually incredibly slow in the morning, were racing through the hotel. As I passed individuals I knew, I made sure to hug them as tightly as my arms would allow, but it didn’t feel like enough. Emotion built up in the remaining hours of the trip—five hours never felt so long yet so quick—as I struggled between hating to say goodbye and just wanting to see my mother. It was a troubling conflict but my main concern continued to be seeing all of the friends I won’t be seeing for a long time. Crestfallen, I appreciated every moment I was fortunate enough to have with each of those lovely individuals. The feeling of being torn away from the small community I did not enjoy.
The more I get asked about the trip, the more my heart aches to return. Who I miss the most cannot be decided. I never thought I would not only become so attached to a group of previously unknown people but also miss them so intensely after knowing them for a few days. I suppose I yearn to be near them because I want to know them better. I should’ve appreciate each second spent with them more than I actually did.