Some people, I have figured (but I also have been told) bear a strong aversion for goodbyes; the mere word upsets their insides, makes them shiver and grimace. As a child I did not understand why this was the case. Then again I did not read between the lines. I can frankly say that I did not care the least for I was quite carefree and careless. It only mattered that at least I was not afraid of goodbyes, I had other things to be afraid of — like monsters under my bed and such. And trust me when I say that I was an impulsive child. I often longed for something new, different and shiny. We are eager for beginnings and yet we dread endings, whatever those endings may be. I can understand such repugnance must emit from the fact that a goodbye indeed has something of finality in it. By the time one says goodbye the future already is an obscure enigma.
But still, aren’t goodbyes inevitable?
It is what I have been trying to convince my parents the last few months. My father, of course, does not dare to utter the word which is so very amusing to me. It really seems like a harmless word to me. My mother merely showers me in wishes the Greek way. But saying goodbye? It is not something they do. I do not mind though, I am the one that ought to say goodbye, I am the one starting anew.
Parting is such a sweet sorrow, indeed.
I will part from a handful things that I will miss dearly and bidding those things adieu is all I need to do. Otherwise, it wouldn’t feel like a proper ending. One last time tomorrow I will go down the street where I grew up, where my father currently lives. My mother will be there too. I remember walking in those streets in the chilling night on my birthday, all excitement and impatience. A surprise party! However, it was not the party that had excited me so. Finally, I was growing up! It was an unforgettable memory, I looked at my shadow and it seemed different. Everything was different that night. The silvery moon was brighter, the air smelled more pleasantly; its normally salty scent blended with the natural fragrances of the evening primroses that have now withered. But that night I joined the night ritual of the nocturnal animals that were going on and on with their cacophonous opera with my giggles. Alas, tomorrow it will be different.
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
-L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
The air is heavier now and of course, many buildings have been added to the scenery. A parking lot hails from afar where it used to be a beautiful garden that was taken care of by an old lad, she was the lady that was keeping the evening primroses alive. I am certain my fingers will trail on the walls, on whatever is left from the blooms and the trees. And I shall be content — nothing would please me more, in fact. But it is ironic in a sense! Awfully ironic! We struggle to make memories, we struggle and we struggle to remember the summery air and the way our favourite dish tastes but as soon as we are away, as soon as we cannon touch, see, taste those certain things then a memory is only a faint picture. Unfortunately, some pictures get lost, some pictures are not so easy to be perceived (time leaves its marks, after all). That is their tragedy.
Thus, leaving the past behind is only but a necessity in order to progress forward. I imagine complete oblivion is undesired, for then not only would we be condemned to ignorance but also, we would unable to learn from our senses, our selves, our mistakes. Ultimately, a goodbye is as natural as a hello. The past ought to be treated as past, as a book that we at times read or bring to our memory and benefit from it whereas the present should be treated as the foundation for a building that is to be built. The better the foundation is constructed, the stronger the building will turn out to be.
And truth be told, I have always thought that pondering over the past, regretting the unchangeable was unforgivably vain and inexcusable — a waste of time, some minutes of your life you will never, ever get back. It could be your Achilles’ heel, a weak trait of a strong character. I always found the inevitability of the future as a motivating excuse, motivational enough to make me want plant seeds for the future rather than look at withered roses and think, “oh, dear me! This used to be such a pretty, pretty rose. I wish it was not so ugly now, I wish it smelled as sweetly as it used to, oh but why, why don’t you smell as sweet! Why have you withered? Why have your once velvety petals fallen? I should have watered you but I forgot! Oh, really, I could look at you all day and pity you, pity you because you have withered so.”
And that rose could be anything of yours, that could mean a thousand things for you but merely thinking about it would never be enough to make the rose bloom again. The best one has to do is plant new ones.
The past could always be annihilated. Regret, denial, or forgetfulness could do that. But the future was inevitable.”
And to close up with a question (be it rhetorical or not, you are free to reply to it!)
Are you afraid of goodbyes & if so, why?