Saying hello is a challenge. Saying goodbye is harder. It takes heart and guts. Therefore, I must have a heart and guts the size of Santa Claus’s.
It’s the New Year, and I’m contemplating life. (Wow, that sounds way heavier than intended.) Living on a tiny little island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea has its perks: the beach, the sunsets, the reef, the beach, the heat, the beach…did I mention the beach? The people, too. You meet all these astounding characters with exciting, enticing tales to tell. You get to know them, you create a bond with them, and who knows? They might just become your best friend.
Then that person leaves.
Then it just goes downhill from there. Heartbreak sets in. Emptiness consumes, and your tears drown that happiness you had. You lose your identity in an abyss, knowing that you'll never meet anyone quite like that parting person. All that’s left are memories that leave the mixed scar on you: you remember the times you were joyful, and you realize that those times are gone forever.
You’d think I’d be used to it. Sure, people come and go so often. It’s a tourist attraction; you’d expect no less. There are some interesting individuals that come down here, no two the same. That’s probably the very reason I’m not used to it. Yes, I could choose not to listen to these folks’ stories. Yes, I could seclude myself into the sanctuary of my bedroom. Yes, I could never make friends with anyone to avoid potential and almost inevitable turmoil. But what kind of person would I be?
Here’s a myriad of questions I ask myself: How do I deal? How can I avoid being hurt while knowing the next person I befriend, the next gentleman I fall for, or even my next teacher (for example, I had 7 biology teachers last year, which was a total NIGHTMARE) is going to leave me eventually? What is it that really makes me so unhappy when I see people off? Is it that I want them to stay, or that I want them to want to stay? Is it because I know memories don’t last and that keeping in touch is a “yeah, right” idea? Am I scared that I’ll be forgotten? Will I be forgotten? Do I not want to forget? Why do I ask myself so many questions? Don’t I know I’m going to give myself a coronary?!
My best friend now lives in her hometown in the States. My last four romantic encounters (most of them having ended before they left, but it still hurts) went back to their homes and currently live their lives as if Roatan and its inhabitants never existed. That’s something that makes Facebook so depressing sometimes. You say you’ll try and keep in touch, and you do, but it’s not personal. You see a change in profile pictures and status updates and everything, but really, what I want is a message, a personal and sincere message, saying, “Hey. Thinking about you and missing you. Remember that time that blah blah blah blah? I was just thinking about that!” It’d be nice to receive one of those sentiments, especially after sending a few myself. You know what I mean?
I thought about this all at New Year’s Eve as I thought about saying goodbye to 2010. Yet another farewell, I solemnly told myself. My vision blurred while I reminisced all the people that have come and gone this year. I prayed, “God, will there be stability or consistency in my life, like…EVER?” And I answered my own question:
“Hun, suck it up. Everyone goes through this. You just happen to go through it periodically. You’ll live. You have your family and God, music and film, and the ability to just live on this gorgeous island. Be appreciative. It’s hard, but you can do it. Have faith in yourself. You’ll lose the emptiness soon, guaranteed. If anything, it'll make you stronger.”
A revelation became me. I enshrouded myself in happy thoughts, whether authentic or fake. I accepted the fact that I might not be remembered, but I also knew deep down that my fear of forgetting is irrational. It happens; people forget you. What's important is lifting those old friends up by keeping them fondly in your own memory. I will meet new people, listen to their stories and troubles, and who knows: I'll most likely become close with that person. I’ll just have to suffer and lose another piece of my heart when another goodbye comes along.