Mekila reaches down to hoist first his bulging backpack over his thin frame and then struggles for a moment to fit his guitar case over that. “No I have to get used to doing it myself,” he refuses when Kalani, steps forward to give a hand, and so we both wait until his packs are securely in place.
I step forward first and since my arms are just not big enough to encircle all the way around his body and bulging back, I grab the sides of his coat and we hold each other close. I cry then in the neck of his wool sweater as my baby brother whispers all the reasons why he’s proud of me. Our chests are pressed tight and I can feel his heart beating so fast it flutters into mine, and then it’s Kalani’s turn.
I’m worried, scared and so proud in that fierce way that I can only imagine a mother could feel. It hurts so good. My baby brother is stepping out, into the world at large. No destination, just $1000, his guitar and one backpack, with all his belongings.
These are real facts, and because of this I need one more hug. I need to remember the strength of his hands. I need to remember the feel of his heart, pulse sparked on the unknown. And because these are real facts, I can let go.