By Ella Schnell
The mouthwatering smell of buttered toast and sunny side up eggs fills the air as Loy Norrix sophomore, Saryna Pineau, sits at Cracker Barrel on a Friday morning anxiously awaiting the arrival of her sister; who she has not seen in over 12 years. Her sister, Leandra, left home when she was 13 years old and went to live with her biological mother.
Saryna was just four years old when she suffered the loss of both her sister and her best friend.
“We were very close before she left,” said Saryna with sadness in her eyes. “She would always take me to her friends’ houses with her since there would be nobody else to watch me.”
According to runaway.org around 1.6 million children run away from home each year. Though this might seem like a large number, it is only about 0.02% of the United States population. Saryna didn’t think anyone that could relate to her tragedy. She was forced to continue on without her beloved sister.
As Saryna grew older she attempted to contact her sister. She found her on Facebook and sent her a message. Her sister responded a few weeks later, and talked frequently. It was mostly small talk, the usual, “How was your day?” and “How are your grades?” After five months of catching up, her sister suggested that she and Saryna reunite.
Saryna, her mother, Rebecca, and her grandmother, Louise, jumped in their red Buick and began the long drive to Kennesaw, Georgia, to visit her sister.
“I was very nervous and anxious throughout the whole drive. I didn’t know what to expect,” said Saryna.
After many hours of driving and several bathroom stops, the family finally arrived in Kennesaw.
They were greeted with a Welcome to Kennesaw- Georgia, Population 32,400 sign. The town consisted of a Family Dollar, a few family owned restaurants, and rundown department stores.
Saryna and her family drove slowly through the cracked streets of the town until they arrived at the local Cracker Barrel, which was connected to the town’s general store.
As Saryna, her mother, and her grandmother took a seat in the restaurant, they saw a familiar face walk through the door.
“I couldn’t believe it was actually her,” said Saryna. “She had red hair now instead of the blonde hair that I was used to.”
The two sisters sat for hours at the small wooden table in Cracker Barrel, catching up on the many years that they had missed. Saryna soon learned that Leandra had given birth to her first child- Lily, just 7 months ago. Leandra had also completed many classes at Kennesaw State University and was a certified kindergarten through third grade teacher.
The newly reunited family spent the next two days talking about both their past and what the future would hold for them.
As Saryna and Leandra became closer, Saryna asked Leandra’s feelings about the past.
“I just remember thinking about how badly I wanted to bring her [Saryna] with me when I first left. Not only to have her with me, but to get her out of the situation I had left,” said Leandra when she was asked how she felt about leaving. “I know how hard it was growing up in that situation and I wish more than anything that I could’ve made it better or easier for her [Saryna]. I also felt super guilty, again, for not being able to take her with me. I knew that there was no way to bring her, but that didn’t make it any easier.”
Saryna is relieved to finally get answers from her sister, but most importantly she is excited to make even more memories with her.
“I think that we will definitely hold a strong relationship and hopefully get to know each other even better,” said Saryna.