I said goodbye to you last night.
I was dreaming of you leaving.
And while I knew it wasn’t real, it wasn’t really happening, the emotions were.
Last in the line of well-wishers sending you off, I was reluctant to look at you, for fear of what you might see in my face.
But when you hugged me, my breath caught and – of course – you noticed.
What was the point of hiding after that?
With my lip trembling and my eyes leaking, I said to you: “I love you so much. Have the absolute best time ever!” And I meant it with all my heart, though it came out more thickly than I wanted, like an unexpected glob of phlegm caught at the back of my throat.
Trying to be funny, because that’s how I hide my feelings, I waved my hand over my face and quickly followed with, “All of this mess just means that I’ll miss you tons.”
I was trying to be lighthearted, but it fell flat, betraying the weight I’d been carrying around, my feelings for you.
This was all wrong. I was botching it up royally.
I could have kicked myself!
I promise I am so happy for you, delighted in your next adventure…genuinely happy about your next steps. But there’s also all this other…all these other feelings…
Always, always so kind – somehow, you never miss a beat – you held my face in your hands and gently rubbed off a fresh tear with your thumb.
“I’ll be back.”
You said it softly, reassuringly.
Almost hinting that you’d be back…for me.
But that wasn’t the point, and I fought against the hope of it when I answered, “You shouldn’t make promises unless you know for sure you can keep them.”
You do have the tendency to say nice things in the moment, even though you don’t really mean them; and my heart isn’t strong enough to handle the disappointment when you don’t follow through.
New paths lead to opportunities we could never expect. And I would never assume a commitment from you, and certainly not now. Nor would I accept one in this moment, when emotions running high lend lies more easily than truth.
You didn’t answer.
And your expression was unreadable. Not mean, just walled.
And I was okay with that.
I hugged you quickly once more, pressing the side of my head to your chest, hoping to catch the strong THUD of your heartbeat. And then I let you go.
Last goodbyes and waves from the group as you walked towards your destiny, and not a peep from me.
I waited until you were out of sight, until I was sure you were out of range, and then I sat and sobbed into my lap for all the things that remained unspoken, for my utter failure in keeping stoic and solely focused on celebrating your development.
I sobbed in inconsolable rage for what seemed like an eternity, wallowing in a genuinely selfish moment…trying to get every bit of it out, once and for all.
I am really, really okay with letting you go.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings about it.
I woke up from the dream, my eyes wet and my heart racing.
Yea. That about sums it up.