Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | January 23, 2006

more than a four letter word

Paul Simon says there are fifty way to leave your lover. There are at least fifty ways to leave a dull party, the office, a bad date, sporting event, and a state of mind. What about temporary? How does one admit they really have moved from fad to classic?

There are many ways to state closure. So long, farewell, good riddance, goodbye, adios, adieu, later, till then. “Farewell” holds a wish for the other person to travel on under favorable conditions and wishes for them to stay clear of danger. “Adieu” literally means “To God” as if the person saying goodbye leaves the other one in God’s care. “Goodbye,” with “good” meaning pleasure and “buy” meaning purchase, so buy yourself something nice. Fine. I’m fibbing on the last one.

Exits and partings are often the subjects of novels, poems, plays, and songs because we are constantly faced with how to leave one stage for the next. How do we leave another or transition from girl to woman?

Usually this occurs alone. The lucky ones experience transition with friends. Walking through the door of Adulthood and beating down the proverbial Disney fairy tales together we learn there are no endings or exit strategies. Change is inevitable. I’ll never admit to standing still or moving backwards.

I’ve missed people before they were gone and cried in the shower while he slept on the couch before he left.

I was scared and pushed him away, then we failed.

I once missed a friend while she sat across the table as we clinked glasses. It would never be the same, maybe it was jealousy, rage, or no friend at all – yet I missed her and said goodbye.

Today was freeing in a way. Shared moments are never going to mean the same, the discrepancy can be huge. I’ve always known I assign more meaning to my relationships then I should – once you’re in my heart, I can’t let go or be mad. I love and loved you for a reason, friend or foe.

Sometimes saying goodbye occurs like a car veering off a cliff. One is left wondering what just happened and how will I ever get along with out their guidance? It was a crash, boom, bang, and moment of dizzy that leaves you looking for the rewind button. It’s like not being able to find a piece of jewelry you wear every day or waking up and realizing the tattoo on your ankle you’ve known since college has disappeared. The vices you’ve invested in and lock boxes where secrets are stored will remain locked in their present location. Fine.

I’ve often wondered what life would be like had I been born to another family, I come up short with nothing, it’s not possible. I can’t imagine what life would be like if certain people weren’t in my life. Ronda and I have never fought. Isn’t that weird? My best friends from high school and I have a ten minute tiff before we say goodbye. Dr. Phil would say it’s because we love one another and are frustrated because we can’t always be there. Fine.

Saturday afternoon Ronda text messaged: “U really don’t know how much it meant 2 have you there last night. To Never Ending.”

“I always will, however I can. To Never Ending.”

To her, them, and you I say farewell, adieu, and till tomorrow never ending.

All my love.


  1. “I love and loved you for a reason, friend or foe.” That line knocked the wind out of me.

    I’m sure I’ll have something more to say once I’m done swallowing the lump in my throat.

  2. Funny, it was “I’ve always known I assign more meaning to my relationships then I should – once you’re in my heart, I can’t let go or be mad.” that got me. Try as I might sometimes, I can’t stay mad at anyone I’ve ever loved. As always, I find myself left with questions. Like is Ronda going somewhere? Other than Sundance, I mean. This sounded so like a parting, but, it’s not quite clear to me what happened.
    Like Hemingway, you evoke an emotion without giving us a begining, middle and end. Just the hint of an end. Spooky. Cool, but, still…

  3. I had To Sir with Love on my mind this morning, and then read your post and now it’s stuck on replay.

    Those schoolgirl days of telling tales and biting nails are gone
    But in my mind I know they will still live on and on
    But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume?

  4. i often miss people before they leave.

  5. as always, elegant and humbling. a vision in blue and black.

  6. This is a great topic. I struggle with goodbyes big time. I’m not sure why it is, but I think it has something to do forming my personality. The ones I have missed dearly have had profound impacts on who I am as a person. Anyways, thanks again for sharing.

  7. Adios also literally means “To God.”

    Anyway, I used to have a hard time with goodbyes. I’ve always only had a small circle of friends surrounding me at any one time and I hated leaving their company mainly because it meant the good time was over and time to return to the salt mines which I worked alone in (metaphorically speaking of course). Back in college, I had the circle of friends I wanted to keep my whole life and I thought I would. There was a girl in particular that I met in high school and eventually ran into at certain concerts, and long-forgotten music dives (anyone remember the vatican or abyss on Washington Ave?). I always took road trips to visit her and when she left for London I saw her off at the airport. If anyone has seen a goodbye from an episode of Highlander, the series, knows how I felt. She came back and we had a few more adventures together, primarily an overnight road trip across Louisiana to Mississippi and three days in New Orleans. Our relationship then was on some deep level I don’t know how to describe it. She left for New York and then we lost touch. It bothered me because I hate losing close friends. I found out she went to Los Angeles and still kept in touch with other friends, just not me. I took that as a slap in the face and an insult. Unfortunately, I tried to explain to my wife how I felt and I worded it wrong and we had our so-far only (hopefully) little fight. Since then I’ve let her (friend) go and just concentrate on the small circle of friends I have now and try harder to keep them.

  8. Kendra – it’s true. I don’t want to lose that.

    N.G. I said goodbye to a college friend who wronged me. I forgave her time and time again – but at the end, i say goodbye. As in, it’s nice to say BYE to her finally.

    Alison – I hate – hate goodbyes and see you laters. I love your crayons to pefume line, classic as always you are.

    D.B. It’s harder every time.

    Ghost – a humbling thanks

    Egan – You caught me on that one. The one’s who have had the most effect are the one’s I’ve missed dearly.

    Jason – I can’t help but read that and question if London girl kept one candle burning for you. And the tiff between you and your wife – well – she’s protecting her territory. But I get what you mean, losing someone close can be like buring in a fire.

  9. Ah, the “mystery girl” alluded to in so many posts. Yes, bitter-sweet, I’m sure. Nice that it’s over, but sad that it was neccessary.

    I’d like to say something profound now, but I seem to have left my profundity in my other pants. Sorry.

  10. Yep, it’s funny how that works Sassy. I first noticed this when I was about 12 and our neighbor’s cousin came to Seattle for the summer. When he left at the end of August I was distraught. It was my first real experience of missing someone, but it was a valuable lesson on the road of life.

  11. I miss people before they leave too. I think it’s the anticipation. Sometimes, sudden goodbyes can be good because of that.

  12. I love the movie Never Ending story. It does all start and end with a name and a wish.

    Lovely Miss Sass.

  13. I wondered if she did keep a candle burning, however I feel if you want to keep in touch with someone badly enough you’ll do it. Who knows, it’s probably for the best. Doesn’t look right for a married man (or woman) to be hanging out with a single friend of the other sex without their spouse.

  14. Beautifully put Sass. Beautifully put.

  15. wow, you’re an excellent writer. one post and i feel like you were speaking directly to me (someone you’ve never met nor heard of) and giving me advice that you feel its time for me to understand. if you don’t mind i am going to post a link to your blog on my blog

  16. I definately prefer Rick Perry’s version of goodbye.

  17. I have the hardest time letting people go because I’m always afraid of the “what ifs”. If I would have given them more time/love/attention/patience/etc. would things have worked out? I hate it, but I don’t know how to change it.

  18. to me, often, if a goodbye isn’t “f*ck off” then it’s not goodbye. it’s change, it’s friendship or loss or lamentation, or it’s bitter “better off” kind of spite. and then i’m over it.

  19. My most recent relationship ended with her getting out of my car, whispering ‘bye.’

    As I watched her walk away, everything seemed to be moving in slow motion, until she was about 50 yards away. Then, suddenly, I wanted her back in the car, back in my arms, more than anything.

    It took every ounce of strength and determination for me to drive away.

    I knew at that moment that I’d never see her again.

  20. You made me sad reading this. Are you happy now? Your writing is *that* powerful. 🙂


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