I am really NOT good at goodbyes.
“The splendid thing
about falling apart
you can start over
as many times
as you like.”
– Sanober Khan: A Thousand Flamingos
I am well-versed at starting over though. Repeatedly. A well-practiced art of rebuilding the broken, putting the pieces back together over and over again. The starting over has been my distraction from all the goodbyes. Starting over I can do because we’ve got to “keep on, keepin’ on”: the mouths must be fed; the smile must be drawn on permanently; the song must be sung; the morning coffee delivered on time; the sun must rise and set; no balls can be dropped; and the show MUST go on, without fail.
“Travel, trouble, music, art, a kiss, a frock, a rhyme.
I never said they feed my heart,
But still they pass the time.”
– Dorothy Parker
But the goodbyes I am still not prepared for or used to. They are akin to a well-delivered punch to the stomach. Each and every time. Anais Nin claims that, “love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals.” I think the goodbyes are betrayals, of a kind, too. The ending of all relationships is a severing of shared confidences; the guillotine on collective memories; the end of the intimacy of just knowing; and the giggles gone, to be had no more… whether it is the ending of a marriage, a friendship or any relationship. Goodbyes are repetitive, little heartbreaks. Goodbyes happen, over and over again, sometimes while you are still in the relationship: dropped teacups that are glued back together over time and then they can be glued no more.
And, it’s not the “things” that are the reality. The person, the marriage, the friendship, the relationship is the “thing”. It is the relationship BETWEEN the things: the context, rather than the “things” themselves. It’s the space in between everything that is real. That’s where the love resides. That’s where the love takes up space, filling up the gaps and potholes to capacity. So when the goodbye happens, it’s not the “thing” that is or will be missed, it’s the between bit. The sucker-punch is the black hole left in its stead. The gaping space of emptiness. The nothingness. No more turning to the person next to you to have a laugh about what’s in front of you; no more picking up the phone to share a thought that you know would make them laugh; no more looks of knowing without uttering a word; no more shared physical space; no more “I’ve got you, Babe”; no more. And what do you do with all the love you still have to give? There’s just empty space in between it all. Gaping, wide, open space. A big, burnt field.
“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” – Yoda
Is that when we grow? When the field is burnt to the quick? When the only choice is to start sprouting, reaching up and letting the sunlight lead the way? Here’s hoping!
“A bridge of silver wings stretches from the dead ashes of an unforgiving nightmare to the jeweled vision of a life started anew.” – Aberjahni