I recently had an epiphany: goodbyes suck.
No one likes goodbyes (if you say you do, you’re a liar and I’m not inviting you to my magnificent wedding). Some people don’t even like the thought of goodbyes. Case in point: I had to get my physical last week, and my doctor mentioned that she’d just shipped her firstborn off to college thousands of miles away. My mother sympathized. Ten minutes later, we were all openly weeping together in the exam room. (Okay, I was blubbering because she had IMPALED me with vaccinations and I’m hinderingly wimpy, but I think the point still stands.)
This epiphany came during our semi-regular girls’ night. We usually rent movies and consume mass quantities of food we know we'll feel guilty about eating later. It’s our thing. This time around, however, we forgot to factor in the absence of so many of our friends as they left town to embark on college adventures. So Tara, Holly and I wound up sitting on Holly’s couch, staring at each other, awash in the sudden realization that this was it. Lilly? Moved to California. Claire? Off to Florida. Liam? Went to Europe. (Decidedly male, yes, but he’d been a part of the group so long he was practically an honorary girl, and his absence was keenly felt.)
We knew they were gone. But it was a shock to show up at girls’ night and realize no one else was coming.
“Well, this is kind of depressing,” I said.
“I kind of agree,” Tara said.
Holly slammed her fist down on the table and glared at us. “There’s no such thing as sadness on girl’s night! Girl’s night is all about junk food, sweat pants, Thai food runs, and guilty pleasure movies. Maybe a little dancing. Maybe some Pictionary. But no sadness. Sadness comes into contact with the joy that is girl’s night, and do you know what that sadness does? It implodes. That’s what it does. So smile, dammit!”
We watched Get Him to the Greek. We shoveled Thai food in our mouths like it was going out of style. We jumped on Holly’s bed. But ultimately nostalgia reigned supreme, and the conversation dissolved into a flurry of sentences that started with “Hey, remember that time…?”
“Hey, Elodie,” said Tara, “remember that time I accidentally ripped your pants in that haunted house?”
“I do, yes,” I said. “I’ve been trying not to, but yes.”
“Hey, remember when we tried to see how many people we could fit in Lilly’s car?” said Holly dreamily.
“Twelve or thirteen,” said Tara, “and I was sandwiched between two strangers…”
“Remember when we had that surprise party for Allison,” I said, “and she was two hours late?”
Holly rolled her eyes. “God, Allison, how hard is it to be on time? Hey, remember in gym when she tripped over the cord and the music stopped playing, and at least thirty games of volleyball screeched to a halt?”
“Remember when Claire and Lilly put Hershey’s Kisses on my car in the ninety-degree heat, and melted chocolate was literally streaming down the sides?” I sighed. “Good times.”
Tara and Holly sighed too. They nodded. Those were good times.
It’s a sad thing to realize that there are a finite number of hours in the day, and that the day eventually ends, and that eventually we all have to concede that this is it. Girl’s night was no exception. We stood there on Holly’s porch, all glommed into a big multi-person hug because we didn’t want to leave yet. That would be like admitting summer was over, and change was a-comin’. Change is scary. I mean, it took me a long time to get this compilation of friends, and I’ll miss them. I’ll miss sitting around with them doing nothing. I’ll miss singing along to songs we barely know. I’ll miss getting shushed in movie theaters.
Holly’s parting words to me: “I love you. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Lily’s last words: “I’ll always be there for you, even if you go off to college and become a whore.” (Those were a tearjerker.)
Liam’s: “I love you. I’m going to pick up a British accent while I’m in Europe, and then when I say ‘I love you’ it’ll sound so much cooler.”
And Claire’s? Well, she and I parted ways after a night on the town. We kept saying variations of the phrase, “Well, this is it….” We hugged, said we’d miss each other, said good-bye, hugged again, then stared at the cracks in the sidewalk until one of us said, “Well, this is really it…” and then the whole process repeated itself. Finally we said our good-byes and took off in separate directions—and we continued shouting our good-byes and I-love-yous from one block away, two blocks away, three blocks away, until we were too far away from each other and all I could hear was a distant, “I LOVE YOU AND I LOVE YOUR FACE!” and although that might not sound particularly poignant, it broke my heart all the same.
I’m literally the last one to leave. I swear this place is like a ghost town. I move in on August 31st, and I’m nervous and excited all rolled into one, so if you have any tips, don’t you dare hold out on me!
P.S. Every time I get a new e-mail that is not the Pottermore e-mail, a small part of me dies.
Okay, WE almost started openly weeping while reading this, and we're not even going anywhere. Have you said your pre-college goodbyes yet? Did it hurt like a son-of-a-gun?
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