Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Randomness : Goodbye

“Ingat kayo mamaya! Bye-bye! See you tomorrow.

People probably don’t notice because my voice is usually soft, but like Bei, I say this almost automatically before I close the door of the tambayan or the lab on my way home. Automatic. Reflex. Easily done with little thought or burden. Saying goodbye every afternoon to people you’re with everyday makes saying goodbye to people you’re with everyday seem so easy.

But it isn’t.

Saying goodbye when the goodbye really matters is one of the most difficult things to do. When my favorite cousin visited from Canada two years ago, it was one of the hardest things to do in the world: to hug him and tell him to take care and keep in touch. I wanted our time together to last longer. But, in the end, he had to go.

Eventually, we had to say goodbye.

I suppose saying goodbye to him is a lot easier than saying goodbye to friends who are moving on. Geographical distance is a lot easier to conquer than the distance between worlds that do not meet and understand each other. When we graduated from high school, I didn’t know how great the distances between UST, UPLB, Ateneo, the Math Building, and NIP were until I woke up one day with the realization that I could no longer reach my closest friends. We are all from within and around Metro Manila. We didn’t need area codes to call one another. It would be easy to keep in touch. It’s no big deal that we’re from different universities. I had this mentality before we parted ways. Now, I see how far apart we really are. Sure, I could call them, text them, and email them through our Yahoo! group, but whenever I am given a glimpse of the world they’re in, I feel like an alien.

I’m happy for them. I’m sad for them. I sympathize with them. I try to understand and appreciate the world they live in. I try to give them the time of day. I read their blogs and their emails. I generally know what’s going on in their lives.

But we’re no longer part of each other’s everyday worlds. Whenever we’re together, we go back to the high school world we lived in together—a more insightful and pragmatic version of a world that will always dwell in our memories. But this world will only be in our memories. It cannot be melded with the world that we live in right now. Strange twists of Fate or our own efforts could unite my present world with my world in high school, but not without great difficulty. I was not the person I was in high school and I cannot go back the same way I cannot turn back the hands of time.

We’re all in a new crossroad right now, a crossroad that will take many of the people I have gotten used to seeing everyday to worlds that I may never be able to reach. With my cousin, I knew that he would not always be there. That he would have to go away soon. I was fully equipped when he left. I had already come to terms that he was only visiting. And, besides, close as we were, we never really shared a common world in which we were used to living in. With my friends, I didn’t realize how soon “soon” really was. For some time, I had an illusion that they would always be there. It’s selfish, I know, but when you see a person every single day for five years, that person’s presence becomes ingrained in you. The day isn’t complete without that person.

“Goodbye” would always seem so far away.

But, I would imagine that we can’t stay in these crossroads forever. They’ll take that turn that takes them to an entirely new world while I continue to walk down the path we once took together, take care of the world we once shared.

At some point, I would come to another crossroad, but that time, I will be the one taking the turn. I will be the one leaving the path I have gotten to know and used to. I will be the one leaving.

I think I know what I want to hear when that time comes, so I guess that's what I'm going to say to those who are moving on with their lives ahead of me.

"Ingat. God speed. I'll see you sometime, ok? Bye-bye."

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