I thought I would write as I sat here, waiting for my toe nails to dry. I had to paint them in order to be able to pack the nail polish. This is one of the reasons packing takes me so long. There is always something I have to do before something else can be done.
Yesterday was the beginning of the end. Or was that when Iida left? Or when we graduated? Or we we all decided what college we’re going to? Or when we walked into West High school on Septemeber 2nd 2011? Who knows really, when the true beginning of the end was. There is always a beginning of a beginning and an end of a beginning mixed in there, which makes it impossible to tell what is going on.
Yesterday we all gathered at Mira’s. We tie dyed. Sophie was there, freshly back from Mexico. Hearing her stories brought back so many memories. I’m so happy for her. I could talk for hours. I’ll never hear enough of her adventures, of her life there. We laughed a lot. We ate a lot too. We made a list: who will do blank first. It turned into a giant guessing game of the future. We tried to play all of our cards, the ones we don’t even know we hold yet.
I cried when I said goodbye. I couldn’t let Emmaray go. I held Susi tight, Sarah, Sophie, Mira. There aren’t words to be said. I cried after I dropped Emily off as I drove the car home in the dark. Driving on empty roads in the dark with music blasting is a feeling I associate with Iida. That’s a feeling we felt together a lot. I talked to her today. I miss her. My heart aches.
This wasn’t even goodbye. Most everyone is coming over tomorrow. It will happen all over again. Four months is a long time to not see the people who know you better than anyone else does, and my friends really do. I’m scared. I’m scared I won’t find anyone who knows me, who loves me, who accepts me so openly as my circle of 9 does. I love them so much. I can’t imagine them not being there. I am completely myself with them. We’re open together. We judge, we hate but we still love. I need them. What if there aren’t any people like that at my school? What if I’m a fish out of the water? What if? What if? What if?
It wasn’t for the four months that I cried yesterday, and it’s not for the four months I will cry tomorrow. It’s because not being with those 8 people every day at lunch is the biggest change I am facing. Let me explain.
I’m not leaving anyone, of course. I am coming back. They will always be in my heart, every moment of every day. But my 4 best friends from church? My church family? I’ve never seen them everyday. I already know how to keep in touch with them. I already know what it’s like to not see them every week, to go a month or even two without seeing them and not knowing what’s going on in their life. I know they are always there and I know that they will always be there.
I know the same of my family. They will always be there. I go months without seeing my extended family. I can go a while without having a good, solid conversation with my immediate family (it’s not something I’m proud of!). Elyse has been off at school for 3 years already. I will miss them, more than I think, I know that, but I am not scared of missing them. I have done it before.
In addition to that, I am ready to move on. As much as I love my family and my parents, I am ready to be on my own. I have Panama to thank for that. And because of Panama, I also know that I will be fine by myself. I can survive on my own. In fact, I fly on my own.
I’m not scared of college classes either. I know what it means to study and to try hard. I have high school to thank for that, all those honors and APs.
So if I’m not scared about missing my church family or my family family, or of the school work or of being independent–what does that leave? If I’ve already dealt with all the things I just listed, they won’t be major changes–so what will be?
My 8 friends. They are the biggest change. Not seeing them everyday will be the hardest thing about these four months. I know that now. I’m sure other challenges will arise, but I am most scared of missing my friends. Of not being there with them and for them. I’m most scared of not finding a college version of them. I am most scared of that. It will be the biggest change.
That’s all I have to say. More words could come, I’m sure of it. But I’m tired. I’m tired of saying until later. I just did so with Abby and Zoe and Rob, less than an hour ago. I don’t like missing people. I hate it, in fact.
I just have to remember it’s not goodbye, it’s until later. But sometimes, that’s harder than it looks, than it sounds, than it is.
Life is beautiful, but it is harsh.