Variation on the Word Sleep

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Last night I was reminded of the pitiful inadequacy of goodbyes. Valedictions is a better word, but neither word does anything to make them satisfying. A friend moved today. Last night I went and met her for a nightcap -- a last drink to say goodbye. There were several of us there, sitting around the table looking at photos, and talking aimlessly. Then she had to leave. I tried to get her to stay, and then immediately regretted it. I hugged her and felt her body begin to shake -- tears followed by embarassment. She walked off toward her apartment and another friend went to accompany her. Momentary dilemma -- to go or not. I didn't. I sat thinking about how awful goodbyes are.
Part of me wonders if humans are even capable of having a good valediction. I remember sitting in the airport with an ex. Wishing she didn't have to leave, but at the same time knowing that she did, and as a result wishing she would as soon as possible.
It's okay when the fact of the leaving hasn't hit you and your life goes on as usual. It's also okay when you say the goodbye and walk off. Its when the leaving hangs over you both, wringing any possible joy from your bodies, leaving you wishing you knew what to say.
There is nothing to say. Just rest in the life you two have shared. Think back on it and smile or cringe or both.


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