A mellow chatter filled the classroom as pages flipped and pens clicked open. The children – no, children is not the right word. The young adults casually strolled around the room with soft-covered blue notebooks, each one with their own name engraved in gold along with Wildwood, Class of 2005. Each youth handed their notebooks to another, asking for their signature and a warm goodbye message they would not read more than once. While the rest of the class of ‘05 signed memory books and compared the amount of messages in each, one boy sat out. I walked up to him, asking him to sign my memory book and he only shook his head, telling me he doesn’t like saying goodbye. Goodbyes are endings, he told me, and I don’t like endings.
Are goodbyes really endings? As I think back and count how many goodbyes I say during the day, I cannot agree. Goodbyes merely mean ‘so long for now’. To me, they serve as pauses in an ongoing conversation between acquaintances, family and friends. I believe that goodbyes are just a way for people to close their conversations. Maybe my friend was afraid of new beginnings, and saying goodbye would mean being forced to admit the end of something. The reason I am not afraid to say goodbye, is because I do not see it as an end.
Sometimes I wonder how different the world would be if people didn’t consider ‘goodbye’ an ending. When it came time to part, they would not think of it as the end, but rather a whole new adventure ahead of them: a new journey, a new beginning. Then, they would face the horizon and venture ahead without sorrow or regret of what they coulda, shoulda or woulda done. Goodbye… it is just a word, a sincerely at the end of a letter, or a golden leaf in autumn – goodbye doesn’t mean forever. This I believe.
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