To say “goodbye” to somebody, is to have the faith that they will once return to you again; to have faith that you have tied the knot of friendship so tight that not even time can unravel it. But having that faith is so hard when I have never said so many “goodbyes” before.
Before going to college and having to say “hello” so many times it becomes robotic, I have to leave my friends who I have grown up with, gotten to know, and come to love. Our culture is so strange; it thinks that a two-syllable phrase is sufficient for seeing somebody off for potentially years at a time. Words are powerful, but they cannot begin to fill the empty space between friends.
The “goodbye” today was a special one. To a friend who has been with me through the thick and thin–as all good friends are. And he’s done all the sappy friend-stuff that friends do for one another: share highs and lows, picked me up when I was down, laughed at himself and at me. I’ll admit I’m not one to cry or get emotional, but if any goodbye has tugged on my heartstrings so much as to conjure tears, this would be the one. He said he’ll try to write, but honesty, what man at boot camp has the time to write to people? I hope he’ll return safe with all the limbs he left with, and in a healthy state of mind. But it’s hard to hope with the state of world affairs.
The strangest thing about this new chapter in all of ours lives, is that none of us know how to feel about it. The typical response I see is ignoring the fact that it’s approaching, or joking about it to lighten the mood. But, who are we kidding? We’re scared shitless. It’s only natural, really. Who wouldn’t be?
In all the nostalgia of “goodbyes” we have the anticipation of the future. Saying goodbye seems to magically call upon the memories of the last 10 years of my life with some of my closest friends; I’ll remember that time where we were watching that movie, in that theatre, and when the character said that line, we would all laugh hysterically; OH, and that one time with that one guy telling those funny jokes; when we were at that place with that food and that waitress was the most hilarious person in the establishment… all the silly little instances that I never would have given another thought are suddenly the only things that will tie me to them for potentially years at a time.
I suppose that’s the best way to look at a goodbye… sorrowful things that somehow give the past meaning–there’s some beauty in that. And that’s what life is about: finding the silver lining in a cloud; discovering happiness in even the saddest of times, and realizing that goodbyes do not mean goodbye forever and finding peace in savoring the past. Despite the lows, I’d say It’s (still) A Pretty Great Life.