I wonder about goodbyes. I wonder at the stories they tell.
There's the girl at the airport, farewelling her family, giving her grandma an extra hug. Will that picture they took together last week be their last?
And there's the boy in the airport terminal, his chin tucked down, on the phone with a girl - they only reconnected a week ago. Both fancy a romance that ends well, and so his long trip ahead brought them together for a sweet fling. Dreamers.
We see a hollow, clinking humor in some goodbyes: Grandma suggests you get just "a touch" of dysentery, completely treatable, of course, so maybe you can come home earlier than planned.
Other goodbyes aren't fully realized - when one person, or both people, choose to avoid the situation rather than face it.
We hug our friends one too many times, knowing that what we've built together will inevitably change. We have the privilege of seeing old friends - like the blue-eyed boy who has this uncanny way of appearing 3-D in a crowd when everyone else looks flat, and the brown-eyed girl who tries to make sense of how innocence can exist alongside everything wrong.
We see grown men in our lives cry, and we know we've meant something to them. We are reminded of all the roles we will fill - as protectors and protected, depended on and dependent, looked up to and yet still looking around, wondering who will guide us.
I wonder how goodbyes ring differently within each of us.A goodbye reminds me that the life I lead is more entwined than the one I am chasing and feel destined to know. I realize my life is woven, or sometimes entangled, in the lives of those around me. It's a cheeky little realization that'll sting a bit - you are more than your own personal tunnel ahead.
Goodbyes root us at the point of uproot.
But it's the oddest happening - once we round the corner and lose sight of what we're farewelling, quite suddenly, the pang of the goodbye disappears. Our steps feel lighter as we descend to the airplane's cabin doors and take our seats for the 16-hour flight to a country we've never seen before. Here is one of life's paradoxical mysteries: despite our connectivity, all the relationships and all the love, ultimately, am I not all I have?
Then the wheels leave the ground, the spirit of adventure closes in on us, and just like that... the goodbye deed is done.
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