20 Something: G’bye is a four-letter word

I hate saying goodbye to people. I’m that person who always says “See you later” or “Ciao” or something that feels less permanent. I’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of people in my life, and I know it’s all downhill from here.

Only a few of these goodbyes have been long and drawn out. Given the option, I don’t know if I prefer that or the sudden, gut-wrenching goodbyes that spring out of nowhere. On the one hand, sudden goodbyes are devastating and the resulting whiplash leaves your neck aching for weeks or even months or years. On the other hand, if you see it coming from a long way off, it eventually lulls you into a sense of security that the goodbye isn’t really going to happen at all, and then it becomes one of those whiplash types.

That happened when my brother died. We knew months in advance that he couldn’t fight the cancer for much longer, but when his body finally gave out, it was still shocking as touching a light switch after sliding your sock-covered feet on the carpet. There’s no real preparation for that. It’s been 6 years now (very nearly to the day), and it still surprises me that he’s gone. I don’t feel the bone-crushing sorrow of the initial loss anymore, but it still hurts. Particularly when faced with pink tutus and/or John Deere tractors.

Short Butt, aka my lil bro

Short Butt, aka my lil bro

Less permanent but still effectively never-going-to-see-you-again-probably goodbyes are bad, too. I had one of those yesterday morning. I have said goodbye to this guy so many times that I shouldn’t even feel it anymore. But this time he’s actually going somewhere. This time, he’s not just living five minutes or an hour away. He’s moving across the country to Washington state.

I’m so jealous that he can just do that. Honestly, I think my jealousy of his liberty and lack of financial obligations is actually driving my sorrow at his going more than his actual leaving. Like I said, I’ve had a lot of practice saying goodbye to him over the past year. For an instant recap, check out the Ex-Chronicles section of this blog.

Anyway, I’m really trying to push past this selfish feeling of envy. I want to be happy for him, and I want things to work out for him. But there’s this evil little part of me that is absolutely emerald right now, and it keeps saying his doesn’t deserve this chance to get away, and he’s going to waste it. I feel awful just writing that, but I’m trying to work through this emotion, so there it is.

I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to be jealous that he has an opportunity I don’t. Worse, I don’t want to feel like I did have this opportunity 5 years ago when I went to Stony Brook, and I ended up losing it. I don’t want him to be like me. I’m trying to make the best of living back in my home state. I’m trying to remember that I love my apartment, and I love that although I’m not entirely financially stable, I’m pretty damn close, which is a miracle considering where I was just a couple of years ago when I started dating him.

Actually we go back a lot further than two years. Hey hey high school. He looks super young; I look pretty much the same.

Actually we go back a lot further than two years. Hey hey high school. He looks super young; I look pretty much the same.

We had a great last night hanging out, and we had a lot of good times. A lot of shit times too, but whatever. He told me to come visit; I said I would try. And I’m sure I will try–if for no other reason than to finally see the west coast. But the goodbye still sucked because even if I do make it out there eventually, it will be a very long time from now, which means I, at least, will be a very different person. And there’s a good chance that he will be, too.

I know this because I’ve done this before. I left Stony Brook and had to say goodbye to everyone there, and by the time I made it back to visit a couple of the closest friends three years later, so many things had changed for all of us. We still connected, and we could still chat, but we weren’t the same people who shared a dorm bathroom.

Ah yes, the days of waiting on the LIRR to arrive

Ah yes, the days of waiting on the LIRR to arrive

Anyway, I’m trying to be a bit less maudlin and keep my chin up. After all, it’s nice to have an excuse to go to another state, even if I can’t actually afford it for a while.

Years later, we switched places, but it's the same hat!

Years later, we switched places, but it’s the same hat!


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