I am not very good at goodbyes. In fact, I avoid them. This doesn’t mean that I make my exit at midnight when people are fast asleep, even though I have done this. Typically, my goodbyes are most identifiable by the fact that they are non-goodbyes.
Giving non-goodbyes is not the same as never having to make an exit. I am a wanderer. I have definitely exited. What I basically try to do is keep relationships going. Try that is. Even with the people that I am not super close to, there is usually the option of getting on my e-mail list. You usually know where you stand with me. If we never quite clicked and were friends only because you were friends with my friend, then I will hear how you are from this friend if at all. But, if I have put you in the genuine friend category, I will do my best to keep in touch.
I have lots of people that I try to keep in touch with. These are people that I think are special and have impacted my life in some way. Usually, these people will at the very least receive e-mails until the lack of response sends me the message that the desire to keep the relationship is not reciprocal.
Some friends drop off the Margaret radar for awhile but eventually get back in touch. These friends, and I am thinking of my dear friend B. in particular at this moment, go through periods where they need their space. I try to give it to them even if I wish I could be talking to them on a regular basis. Hell, if a friend spent a week in the Superdome after Katrina don’t you think you’d cut this friend some slack?
I have another friend, M., who I have lost touch with for over two years now. I changed phone numbers; she moved into her own house, I hope. She, her husband, and her oldest daughter are undocumented. They are not always easy to locate. But I know me and the way I move through this world. I reconnect with people. One of these days, I will make it back down to the South Texas Valley and I will find her. We will hug and cry, I will see how her daughters are doing and pretty soon I will feel as if I had never left.
The longest non-goodbye I have ever experienced was 26 years long. This was with Mansour, my dearest and closest childhood friend. As some of you know, I reconnected with him and met his family a little less than two months ago when I finally was able to go back to the land where I grew up, Lebanon.
The second longest was 25 years long. My reconnection with Pascale was pure chance, but I did reconnect and it will not take me 25 years to see her again. This is where the goodbyes become tricky with me and the boundary between goodbyes and non-goodbyes truly blurs. I left saying, “I will see you this summer.” I will do my best to stick to this. Of course, if war once again breaks out in Lebanon (heaven forbid) I will not be able to stick to this intention.
This is how goodbyes are for me, usually, and is why I consider them non-goodbyes. While saying goodbye, I spend most of my time trying to figure out and even plan when I am going to see the person again. Most of the time. I remember one goodbye where I knew the person wouldn’t keep in touch with me, but I went through the motions and even made attempts after my departure. It was she who did not keep the relationship going.
And so, this goodbye is not really a goodbye.
Inspired by Sunday Scribblings.