Halftime Leisure

Love On The Hilltop: A Valentine Like No Other

February 14, 2015

This isn’t your average Hoya love story. This is no tale of cross-campus lovers, long distance relationships, or weird and complicated hook-ups. This is the story of two siblings who ended up attending the same college – and grew closer than they ever thought was possible.

Allow me to explain. When I was little, I always promised my older brother, Harrison, that we would attend the same college. It was a dream I had conjured up the second that I had some semblance of what college was (which, for a young girl, was something along the lines of four years away from home where you magically grew up and became an adult.) And in my eyes, there was no one else I would have wanted to continue growing up with than my brother. He was my best friend, my protector, my Pokémon partner-in-crime. Every day after school we would race to the big green sofa, giggling like maniacs as we watched television and ate cookies. In the summers, we would race against each other in breast stroke (I won, every time), go fishing on the Long Island Sound out at our grandparent’s beach house, and spend nights eating ice cream and looking at the stars.

Even as we got older, reaching middle and high school, we still remained close. The silly tickle fights transitioned into more serious talks, discussions about what we wanted to be, the crushes we had, and the usual adolescent drama. But the dream of attending the same college seemed to be slipping through my fingers. When Harrison was accepted into Georgetown, I beamed on the outside; but on the inside, I despaired. Georgetown was a school for future presidents, politicians – not for a girl who wanted to sing opera, or become a music journalist. As my older brother donned his blue and gray and walked into Darnall for his freshman orientation, I suddenly was overwhelmed by the fear that I had not only lost my brother – but my best friend.

Of course, I never told anyone in my family about how much I secretly loved Georgetown. I became enamored the second we dropped Harrison off, the moment we stepped foot on campus. I submitted my application quietly, trying to draw as little attention to it as possible. On a balmy afternoon in March, I strolled to the mailbox, expecting no further college letters and already planning to submit my enrollment to Davidson College. Then that small, thick envelope with the Georgetown crest fell into my hands.

“Oh my God.” Those were Harrison’s first words when I told him the news.

“I know.”

“So, three more years then?” I could hear him beaming through the phone. “I don’t know, I want to -“ “Oh, come on Lizzie! It’s Georgetown. You have to!” As I heard genuine enthusiasm and excitement in my brother’s voice, I breathed a sigh of relief. College hadn’t changed Harrison too much. He still wanted me around, still wanted to take on the most exhilarating, and terrifying, years of our lives – together. But I owed it to myself to visit both Davidson and Georgetown, to make the informed decision. Yet I remember the feeling of sitting in Gaston Hall for the first time, with Harrison by my side, pointing out the different murals and explaining their meanings. I knew right then and there, for multiple reasons, Georgetown was to be my new home.

Going to college with Harrison has been one of the greatest blessings. I don’t think words alone can give the experience justice. From my baby steps during freshman year onward, my brother has been there for every moment, high or low. He was the presence that consoled me when the first wave of homesickness kicked in, the first person I called over to celebrate with me when I received my first role in Georgetown Theater, or solo in Concert Choir. We’ve had countless brunches out and dinners in, catching up on the latest happenings in our lives. Recently, we jest about competing in Iron Chef: who-can-cook-the-best-college-meal edition. We’ve walked back from Wisconsin or M, laughing hysterically at jokes that only we would get. We’ve seen each other at parties and giggled, loving to see people’s reactions when they realize that we’re related. We go together to Greek Orthodox Vespers on Tuesdays, taking it as time to not only settle down and escape the stresses of the day, but also to see that familiar face that always makes you feel better. Harrison has also become my bona fide travel buddy, both as we slump in our train seats after finals, exhausted and ready for break; and as we fling our suitcases into the train, eager to start a new semester and catch up with our friends. We’ve seen one another at our best, and at our worst. I’ll be the first to admit that when freshman Liz had a little too much, it was Harrison who could immediately tell and chivalrously walked her home – with a lesson or two to teach the next day at Leo’s.

Although we’ve left our marks on different sides of campus – while he works on the IRC and Club Golf, I immerse myself in music and the Voice – being together at Georgetown has been one of the most wonderful experiences a little sister could ask for. I can only hope that I’ve been able to be as good of a presence as you have for me. Based on how often we have our life talks, I’m going to assume I’m doing a pretty good job. I think little Liz would be pretty thrilled to see how Harrison and I are around each other now – which (I didn’t think it was possible then) is closer than ever.

Love you, bro. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Photos: Liz Baker

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