Tuesday, December 16, 2008


"farewell; a conventional expression used at parting"

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate that word? Seriously. I know it's irrational, & I like to think "hate" isn't a word that frequents my vocabulary , but the sound, the meaning... the permanence. I can't handle it - I hate it. To me, the word feels like an iron clad deal. Goodbye. That's it. Done with. Over. I don't much like "farewell" either, although at least that has more of a romantic ring to it. 

You could say it traces back to the separation anxiety that used to throw me into hysterics as a kid, or the scene from the Disney movie The Fox and the Hound where Tod is left in the woods on a rainy day with those heart-wrenching lyrics playing in the background.

"Goodbye may seem forever more
farewell is like the end
but in my heart there's memories
and there you'll always be."

It gets me every time. & either way, I'm simply not a fan. Say "see you later," "tootles," "in a while crocodile," "ciao," "au revior," occasionally even "bye" is acceptable - but never goodbye. Don't you dare say that to me. If you do, I may change course and hang on to you with tear-filled eyes instead of actually leaving. Dramatic, I know, but that's how it is. Think about it. Almost every climactic moment in a movie or book uses the permanence of "goodbye" to solidify a moment when two individuals think they're not going to see each other again. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy would be a prime example.  She says "goodbye" to him after sharing some news that could potentially ruin her respectability, and once he leaves the room she murmurs "I shall never see him again." Terrible.

With finals almost done and a ticket sitting in my desk that will get me on a plane in 10 days headed halfway around the world (only about 8,000 miles...) tears are starting to fall and the sound of goodbyes threatens to permeate the air. Don't. Do. It. 

I've discovered that in order to deal with the separation, I just have to lie to myself. 

"I'll see you next weekend Sam!" 
"What? No you won't, you won't see me until next..." 

"Hey I just wanted to say I hope you have a good holiday"
"Um, what? Why would you tell me that? It's not like I won't see you..."
"Right. I'll see you in a few days."

Just go with it people. Please. For my sake.

I can see the departure at the airport already.

"Okay family. So I'll see you in a little while. Just let me fly on over to India real quick (5 months fast...), get a glimpse of the place and then I'll be back."

One of my brothers will probably make some sarcastic remark and then break out the-word-that-shall-not-be-said. It'll probably play out like one of the scenes from the Matrix where everything slows down. He'll start to utter it, and I'll drop my bags and leap through the air to cover his mouth with my hand.

"No way Mister. I don't think so."

Then, as I confidently stroll away with the knowledge I'll be back after "a quick trip" you'll witness a girl walking with her back straight and her resolve strong - headed off towards a new adventure. I like to think I do a pretty good job playing it off like I'm a ridiculously independent individual who screams "Watch out World, here I come!" at the top of her lungs. 

But that's only half of it.  While I truly do have an insatiable desire to learn, see, experience and do anything and everything that I can, there's the other side to me - the little girl who breaks at the thought of goodbye and being separated from those that she loves.

From behind, you'll see a girl who doesn't look back. No regrets. But there's another reason I never turn around for a last glimpse of my family. If I were to do that, everyone would see, plain as day, that most of my resolve disappeared the moment I turned away.  You'd see the fearless facade dissipate, and the tears start to fall as I finally let myself dwell on the fact that the lies I told myself and others were just that - lies. I really am leaving. I really am going. They really are gone. 

The drop of the stomach, the shaky breaths, the battle against watery eyes, the doubts that cloud the excitement... they all fall down at that moment, crushing the wall of strength that was built up so carefully.

That's when you start dwelling on the "what-ifs." I know it's all about fate and positive thinking, but still, did I remember to say I love you to everyone? Did I get over my silly evasion of certain hugs and just hold on tight? I haven't spoken to him in weeks... what if I never see him again? What if I don't like it over there? Did I remember to make my bed? Pet the dog? Grab those photos? Call my best friend? 

I'm not a fan of that feeling. & while I know, for the most part, it will eventually lighten as the journey continues and memories stay strong and you know somewhere deep within that you're overreacting and you'll eventually be back - I prefer postponing it for as long as possible.

So please, don't say goodbye.



1 comment:

Faker said...

haha! i wrote something like this a couple weeks ago! but i am the opposite i think farewell is less final than goodbye!
for me its always been farewell but not goodbye! lol