By Amanda Egesi
Four hours. Fours long, boring hours was the car ride to Vermont. I promised Katie I’d visit her home before we graduated. So there I was, sitting in the passenger seat of her blue Jetta that smelled like Crayola Crayons.
I didn’t think I would appreciate the ride much so I closed my eyes.
Welcome to Vermont, Katie shouted.
Red, green, and yellow leaves engulfed the trees rolling over the acres of mountains. Welcome to Vermont.
I unloaded the car when we arrived in Katie’s Countryside neighborhood.
Regular, cozy, welcoming, and her parents standing on a welcome mat that read, home sweet home.
Walking into the opening and loving arms of her parents was soothing. They were excited to see their daughter, yet greeted me as if I were a second daughter.
Trudging up the stairs with our track bag and duffle bags, we heard our stomachs growling, begging for food.
Mrs. Polakowski yelled up the stair with a high pitched voice that dinner was ready.
Running off of Dunkin’ Donuts and candy from the car ride, we sprinted down the carpeted stairs. It gave us a bounce hoping off the second step into the kitchen.
“We never sit in the living room to eat. We have every meal at the dinner table,” whispered Katie.
I walked into the small yet cozy dining room. Family pictures hung on the light blue walls surrounding the table.
The medium sized hard wood table with four place mats was set with plates, cups, forks, and knives.
Together the Polakowskis and I sat.
The smell of homemade lasagna, chicken breast, and garlic bread filled the air. The food filled my stomach.
“Carol’s won prizes for her pies,” said Mr. Pol.
One bite of her home cooked apple pie left me no reason to doubt it. The freshly cut apples oozed with cinnamon, brown sugar, and soft crust.
I loved that feeling. The feeling of a home cooked meal just because I’m coming home. The feeling of parents hugging and kissing me because they missed me so much. The feeling of coming together at the dinner table and talking about life.
But, I don’t get that emotion when I’m back at home. I don’t get in that, “I’m so happy to be home feeling” when I’m sitting alone at my house in Framingham, in the TV room eating dinner by myself.
I just don’t.
My dining room table is spotless and empty. It never gets dirty with crumbs, juice spills, or finger prints because there isn’t a family to sit at it. At my house it’s me in the TV room with pasta, my younger brother in his room with rice and beans, my mom in the kitchen washing dishes. Then my dad walking around smoking a cigarette.
Our busy lives were filled with football practice, working two jobs, employment at a new hospital, and focusing on senior year in college. These tasks all removed the focus on the family time to what’s next in our schedule.
In Vermont, I loved that dining room table. It meant more than a meal. It symbolized the love, joy, and togetherness of a family. I long for that emotion at a dining room table of my own.
“Thanks for the dinner mom, perfect as usual,” said Katie.
She smiled and said thanks for coming home girls.
Later that night I told Katie, thanks for welcoming me to Vermont.