Only a Pinky-Width Apart

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Viktoria Slowikowska

I only have one day with you
before you leave for Europe.
I won’t close my eyes for 24 hours–
you pinky-promised to do that too.

Your pinky is so tiny
I can’t believe you’re old enough
to travel alone;
it feels like just yesterday
I drove you to get strawberry ice cream
and you sat in the booster seat
on the passenger side
so you could get the best views
from the windshield
even though it was dripping with rain.

At least for today
you’re just my little sister.
I’m scared I won’t know you
when the leaves turn red
and you return to school–
the cool kid
who grew up over summer.

But just give me these 24 hours
and I’ll never let them go.
We’re driving to the waterfall
where I taught you to swim,
and the playground since
we still like to swing.
We’re walking down to your preschool
for sentimentality’s sake,
and maybe we’ll get ice cream again
since I can’t get enough
of your bright face.

This day won’t be bittersweet–
just my all-time favorite.
Even when you’re gone,
I’ll look in the mirror and smile
and I’ll see you smile back
all the way from Europe,
since you pinky-promised.