By Amari D. Pollard
I’ve never been one for goodbyes; to places, to people—especially people. It’s always been easier for me to just leave, to not really realize the last time I saw someone was a goodbye until some time passed without me seeing them. Maybe that way it’s better, because the more detached I feel from our goodbye the less it will hurt.
I didn’t graduate this May, but a lot of the people I care about did. And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to go to graduation and properly send them off.
College forces you into a confined environment, so separate from the world outside of that private space, where you see your friends almost all the time, everyday. You can just run down the hall into their room to say hi or walk five minutes across campus to find them studying in one of the library cubicles.
But after those years in college, it can never really be that simple again.
We’ll eventually become separated by states (maybe even by seas and countries), and by jobs, and by bills, and by marriage(s), and by kids. And as more of those things come up in our lives and the years go by, it’ll get harder and harder for us to remember who we were and what we did in those spaces of time that we spent together.
We all say we’ll stay in touch, that we’ll see each other and when we get back together it’ll be as if nothing has changed. And maybe for some of us it will be like that; but the truth is, for a lot of us, life will get in the way.
And graduation was just the start of that progression.
I didn’t want to say goodbye because I wanted to stay in that moment where we stayed up late drinking Moscato from the bottle and dancing a little too hard to the High School Musical soundtrack. Or when we listened to music, just talking about sports and school and life. Forever freezing that pocket of happiness where we just were.
I couldn’t have graduation—this huge event where people memorialize the ending of something—feel like that was it.
And while I like to run away from organized goodbyes, I did eventually make my rounds throughout campus to say bye to certain people. But it took me saying goodbye to someone I wasn’t super close with to really feel the weight of all those farewells.
After hugging him and jumping in my car to drive home I just broke down. I cried at the thought of not knowing when I would see him again, that I could possibly never see him again. And that hurt like hell.
I don’t want to just remember all those friends. I want to know them like I do now in the future, to see and to hear from them where their lives have gone.
If that kid I took a course with every semester for two years ended up graduating law school and working in a firm in New York City. If my lacrosse captain/fellow midfielder/friend tried out for the national team and made it like she always wanted to. If they became the dreams we talked about late at night.
I want to know what became of them, and for them to know what became of me.
Picture courtesy of http://www.catholicphilly.com