So it’s the end of the semester and people are heading home. All of the friends made while on exchange, all of those travellers following the same misty roads as you, will soon be branching off onto further adventures on their own.
The future is vast and scary and unknowable. It is, however, a sea to swim without fear. Without knowing where the myriad possible cracks will form, where the pieces will fall into place, when the “right people” will come into your life, there is no sense being afraid. Move forward knowing that somehow, somewhere, sometime, things will work out and you will have reached the shore.
As I say goodbye to some of my most special friends from exchange, to companions in crime, crushes, lovers, spiritual connections of the past, I’ve come to realise that goodbyes are extinct. Maybe a hundred years ago leaving your country would have meant a tearful surrender of friendship, but not today. The world has shrunk and exploded at the same time.
And anyway, the future is a sea unknown. You never know who you’ll meet bobbing along the surface, or who you’ll meet again further out into the mist.
You’re told not to fall in love overseas,
because the parting is too hard.
You’re told to be free with your passion and throw your love around,
because to do otherwise is also painful.
You make friends who’ve seemingly known you your whole life,
then you must get through leaving them.
When the semester ends,
when the party stops,
you feel the pain.
But it is a good pain,
the bittersweet release that comes from knowing and loving,
and being loved back.
It’s a kiss goodbye,
the recognition of the final bus ride,
the plans to move on,
the stories ready to be told.
And you know deep down that the world is small,
the network is vast.
Saying goodbye today,
with planes and automobiles and trains and
probably soon to be sci-fi-quantum-matter-transporters
and even the humble Facebook page,
is not the end.
Deep down you know the world is small,
even when it seems big,
even when the seas begin to grow between you,
even when you see the long road in front branching away,
you know that there are no goodbyes anymore.
Not if you don’t want there to be.
And so I say to everyone I’ve met, everyone I’ve grown to love and respect (even if we never got any selfies together for Facebook!):