The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Echoes from the Past

Echoes from the Past

These days my house is so quiet I can sleep in as long as I want. The pantry seems to never run out of snacks, and I can lie on the couch watching Netflix whenever I want, for as long as I want. But these days, I miss the old days. I miss the days of getting woken up by my brother Alex blasting the Rocky theme song, or my brother Max stealing the TV remote from me so he could watch the basketball or football game that was on. In the old days, laughter rang throughout the house, but these days, I only hear its echo. 

Have you ever heard of the phrase Built-in-Best Friend? For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it describes someone who has been by your side ever since you were born. I have a Built-in-Best-Friend; in fact, I have two: Max and Alex, my older brothers. 

One March evening in 2021, as the sun cast its golden glow into my bedroom, a gentle knock sounded at my door. 

“Come in.” I said. 

 Max appeared in the doorway. He took a deliberate step forward before settling down beside me. With an air of anticipation and a half concealed grin on his face, he uttered three words, “Ella, guess what.”

 Instantly, I sat up and squealed, “YOU GOT A GIRLFRIEND!” 

He rolled his eyes and said, “No, you idiot, I just committed to Wisconsin.”

I sprang from my bed and gave him a huge hug, happy that all of his hard work had paid off, but I also felt the icy hands of fear slowly grab my heart as I realized he would soon be moving a thousand miles away. Although I was upset, I looked on the bright side: Alex was still home. 

Fast forward two years. Alex was a senior and nearing the end of his high school journey. He was deciding between Ohio State and Indiana. One evening while gathered around the dinner table, the topic of college decisions came up once again.

 My mom, the catalyst for all the conversations, asked Alex out of curiosity, “Have you made your decision yet?”

 Her eyes showed exasperation, as no words left his mouth. 

“Yes,” Alex responded, breaking the silence, “I’m going to be a Buckeye!”

 Everyone congratulated him, including me, but amidst the excitement, a sobering thought settled in: I was going to be an only child.

Dropping Max off at the airport was one of the toughest moments of my twelve-year-old life. 

No longer do I find him peeking into my room, checking up on me to stay on top of my reading or telling me all about the latest “literary masterpiece” that he’s convinced I must read (at this rate, I’ll need a lifetime supply of caffeine just to catch up on his recommended reading list). No longer does the savory aroma of his spontaneous cooking creations roam the house, which is unfortunate because I love being his taste tester. And those frequent nightly movie marathons? Well, they are no longer so frequent.

No longer do I look forward to our joy rides with country music blasting through the windows, or our weekly golfing escapades. I would have never thought I would like country music or golf, but Max somehow put me on like he does with everything else. 

Even without Max home, having Alex around made things seem slightly normal. But not anymore. Normal changed to abnormal, as he left the house feeling like a sitcom without its star character.  Without the resident troublemaker and the master of stirring the pot, home felt like it was on low battery, in need of an “Alex charge.” I miss the days where he would come into my room or I’d go into his and we would spill all of the drama that had occurred in our life throughout that past week. He would talk, I would give advice, then I would talk, he would give advice, and then repeat. I miss the couch dents from him watching the football and basketball games every Sunday. I don’t recall him ever getting up, not even to go to the bathroom! Oh and please don’t get me started with the post gym hugs. His “affectionate” embraces left me questioning his hygiene choices. But you know what? Despite the chaos, I miss it all. Even his sweaty hugs. 

With both of them gone, I now receive a million text messages saying, “Hey Bells, call you in five” or “How’s school? I miss you.” 

Honestly, I’m getting text fatigue; I’d much rather have them here, back in Tenafly than calling or FaceTiming. It’s just not the same. It’s crazy to think that the two of them aren’t just a walk across the hall anymore, but in a whole other state. It feels like yesterday we were on the beach and they were attempting to teach me how to run a football route, but I couldn’t grasp the concept that “run straight and make a right” actually meant, run straight and make a right. I guess you could say, life has lately felt like a puzzle, with the last two puzzle pieces nowhere to be found. 

As I lie in bed each night, I count down the days until my mom yells to me, “The boys are home!” 

At the end of the day, no matter how many wet willies I receive, or how many times I get tackled just because they “felt like doing it,” my brothers will always be my brothers. As they spend their nights and days far away at college, I know that no distance will ever break our bond. They will always be there for me like I will always be there for them. What can I say? – They’re my Built-in-Best-Friends. 


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About the Contributor
Ella Plotkin
Ella Plotkin, Staff Writer
Ella Plotkin (’27) is excited to cover stories discussing current events, entertainment and sports. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, lacrosse and basketball. She also likes to travel, listen to music, and spend time with friends.