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Maddy Jones - November 17, 2022

Image by - Maria Santaniello

Seven in the morning is an early time to get out of bed to put slippers on. However, my sister and I did it every morning. Ever since we were little girls, the sunrise was more important to us than sleeping in. Even in the coldest months, we would get out of our cozy beds to see the sun peek up through the dancing snow and frost-covered windows, holding cups of hot cocoa in our small hands.

For the longest time, we thought our parents didn’t know that we crept through the house in the early hours– creeping down the carpeted stairs, blowing hot breath on the foggy windows, looking outside to see where the light would come from. We should’ve given them more credit. They knew we woke up early– they even set the alarm clocks when we forgot.

Entering high school broke this daily tradition. Suddenly, I was too tired to wake up before dawn to look at a glowing star 93 million miles away. I told my sister to get out of my bedroom because I needed my sleep in order to face geometry class the next day. I snapped at her when she suggested that we play with our old dollhouse in the shed. I never thought about the emotional turmoil I put her through until yesterday. We were sitting at the dinner table picking at our food when she asked me, with fear of rejection in her eyes, if I wanted to watch the sunset on our front porch swing with a blanket and hot cocoa. I thought she was insane for suggesting hot cocoa in 80 degree weather, but I never realized how much I missed her until that moment. I never realized how distant we’d become.

I scavenged the pantry for a box of Swiss Mix hot cocoa packets and reached to the top shelf of the cabinet to find our once cherished Disney princess mugs. I made hot cocoa and threw in some stale marshmallows and met her on the front porch swing that my father had crafted and stained so long ago. It may not be the same– creeping down the carpeted stairs, blowing hot breath on windows, or looking outside to see where the light is coming– but with our knees touching as we rocked back and forth, trying to keep up the swing’s momentum, it was pretty close.

Time with her means more to me now than it did then. For me, college is right around the corner whereas she has five more years at home. Soon, her bright eyes might be overshadowed by eyeliner, or her crooked smile might be straight, or her long blonde hair might be a short brunette.

Time isn’t in our favor– sunrises and sunsets are proof– but we can at least cherish the creaking of the faded porch swing as we watch the sun move.

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