I said goodbye.
I expected that at some point along the way, I’d learn how do it. As I’ve written through it these last few months, investigating the ways it makes my heart stop and yet sparks hope all at the same time, I’ve expected to learn a few things. I thought that after writing so often on noticing the light on the trees, I would master drinking in the sight of it the last time. I was sure I would walk away so completely drunk on it that I wouldn’t be in my right mind for days. But I left just tipsy, just enough to get me through until the sunset the next day. I didn’t expect that.
I expected to be good at it. I expected to hug my best friends with such fervor that the shapes of them imprinted my bones. I expected my humerus to have dents with their names and to be able to carry them around tucked into the crook of my elbow, mostly so that I could summon them up when I’m standing alone. I expected to hug them so tightly that my shoulder blades would ache for days from scraping together. And I hugged–I hugged tight–but just a few hours after we said goodbye, my arms were already asking where they were. Despite an overflowing car and music louder than my thoughts, the emptiness tapped me on the shoulder. It was quietness that asked, “What next?”
I didn’t expect that.
I expected to cry a lot. But the truth is that moving is a demanding thing, hard on your muscles and your fingers and your spirit and your temper. By the time I’d carried the very last box to the car, all I could think about was a hot shower, an egg burrito, and watching Good Luck Charlie on the couch with my mama. Those days, when we packed our last four years into garbage bags and Hondas, were distracted by who’s-spatula-is-this and I-am-so-tired and for-the-sake-of-love-and-mercy-just-throw-that-away sentiments. So there wasn’t much crying, and I definitely didn’t expect that.
But still, I was the last to leave. I sat in my car and I was there, just sitting there and being there one last time. I began to feel it moving within me–all of the fear and hope, the nostalgia and dreaming, the Can’t Leave and Have to Go bumping and stretching and shaking inside of me. Sure only of where I was going that night, I went. I went with wide eyes and open hands, and I stand like that still: All goodbyed out, all drenched in hope.
What was left to do was just to leave. I eased onto I-20 and just like that, I’d done it. But I looked back, something I’ve been warned not to do. I looked back, and as I watched in my rearview mirror, the twilight took my place.Twitter (@lindseyrlowe), Instagram (lindseyrlowe), and scroll down to the bottom of the page to subscribe to posts via email. Thanks for adventuring with me!