It started with an old song and a cemetery. Come to think of it, doesn’t everything? A memory followed by an ending, waves of nostalgia ebbing and flowing on the high tide of regret. A solitary and final good-bye. She had been my best friend. We had drawn on sidewalks and danced in rain. We navigated through pitfalls of disastrous proportions, such as bad haircuts, and the less important things, such as the future. And it would’ve been alright, if she had flown to the other side of the world and cut off all ties. Instead, she flew to the other side of the social class, with little circumstance, and less ceremony.
Closure is a word above all others. For how can another door open if the first does not close? How could I have known it was over if I do not see it in the eyes of the boy I once loved, as he held my hand, squeezing it briefly, and then finally letting it go. The concluding brush of fingers, the turning of a back, the end of a trilogy, or a year, or an era. That is a proper good-bye. Not ignorance and carefree continuation. Because continuation is the other side of the coin.
Continuity is the reason that I toss and turn at night, going over what I said one thousand times in my mind, because I am supposed to be in control. We have been told that we are captains of our own ships, and the masters of our own destiny, but this is not true. For we plan our lives carefully, containing the people that we love. And when they no longer love us, that design is changed. So our lives will carry on, until we’re old and gray, and she will just be a picture in the photo album from seventh grade, a caricature of that stage. But the knife that twists, the kicker, the catch, is that she too will be old and gray, and we will be a caricature moreover. And the only thing holding us together, across different dimensions even, is what could have been.
It’s a thin line, tracing back through the years, suspended across belief. It is tangled with her cousin’s line, as they do not speak anymore, which in turn is snagged on my third grade teacher’s, who retired after that year. And we are all connected, but only just so, and we feel the loss. What are thin lines should be ropes. But even the smallest line cannot be cut. Alas, it’s never a good mix, old songs and cemeteries. They get you thinking about the web that entangles you, and then, as each breath gets slightly shorter, you realize that what you’ve been ignoring for so long has held you prisoner. Now you are trapped, all because you never broke the tie. You never learned the language of goodbye.