I’ve never really been good at goodbyes . . . I find myself feeling quite choked by them – the impending moment when one must leave behind a moment or a string of moments that have altered your existence in some way . . . Perhaps it is the physical act of turning away that gags the heart.
The word bye didn’t used to be as paralyzing as it is now – until a fated cold, winter night in January, I hadn’t realized just how suffocating having to literally say goodbye for good was. But, as life often does, it handed a blow that I was not prepared for, that I was not emotionally equipped for – and it resulted in a goodbye that would forever alter the tilt of my universe.
So, no, goodbyes have never been great – they have been hard and full of emotion and excruciating . . . I can recall instances during my childhood in which my mom would tell me that things would grow easier the older I got and if I’m being honest, not much has really gotten easier with age that once proved difficult and painful in my adolescence. Girls still bite with words that are cloaked in venom, boys still use and love with a promise that is only fleeting and momentary in its beauty, and, even as I notice fine lines around my eyes and pluck a gray hair, or two, from the crown of my head, I realize I have many more trials to overcome before I can believably say I’m a gift to my reflection – I still have many a lesson to learn, period, before I sprout into the woman that I know is bunkered down beneath my rib cage.
Along with promises of things getting easier with age and time, I was also promised that I would come to realize the difference between a decision being a good idea and a decision being a necessity. There is truth in that; I am lying in the midst of the bearing of that truth.
On a clear, humid night, I was lying in the bed of a truck discussing a future that was never going to be brought to fruition and you were feeding me lines about a future that I almost started to believe in – but this is not reality and I am no longer the type of girl that is willing to give up valuables, like what my heart truly needs and wants, in order to claim you as a husband.
You throw promises at me, lob “well maybe when’s” my way, and then you kiss me feather-light and wrap muscles around me and I wonder just when they became muscles – just when, exactly, did you turn into a man with sinewy muscles in his arms? Because that’s what you are now – not the boy who let me run and jump into his arms in front of a red, worn, truck. You are a man – with a namesake and enough money to purchase a home and you are filled with words veiled as promises, but they begin to carry less and less weight and I’ve finally lifted off the blinders. . . I recognize your verbage for just what it is.
You’re a man now – not the boy I fell in love with and laid down for. You’re a man now – and I’m no longer a little girl – because kisses don’t wake long haired beauties from a 100 years’ sleep and the tooth fairy doesn’t carry around crisp, fresh, green-faced bills and you’re not going to make me a princess just through your eloquently pronounced love.
I’m no longer a little girl and you’re a man now and isn’t it time we both start acting that way – instead of meeting late at night, in secret, like we’re hiding from someone – because we aren’t, right? Or maybe we are – maybe we’re hiding from that young girl filled with the hope of what desire would bring and from that young boy who thought he could make all the promises she wanted to hear, and keep them, too.
Maybe we’re hiding from the innocence that we didn’t maintain for long, when we were together, and maybe we’re trying to hide from them, from those bright eyes and whispered I love you’s, because we don’t want them to find out that promises don’t always remain kept, that a dark room and shallow breathing don’t mean you’re grown, that a heart can change, that a tangled moment can be sweeter as a memory, that, more often than not, a first love is not synonymous with a final love.
Maybe we’re hiding because we don’t want that blue eyed boy and that green eyed girl to realize that goodbye just might be inevitable.
We don’t want them to realize, more importantly, that there just might be good in saying goodbye.