On the Eve of “you’re leaving”
She told me awhile ago that she might move to London.
To be honest with you, I laughed it off.
Did I believe she was brave enough to do it? Absolutely. Did I think it would be an incredible, exciting, albeit necessary change for her? Sure I did. Could I imagine her walking out onto the street from the steps of a posh brownstone flat somewhere in the city? Yes.
But I never thought she’d actually go. Why? Because sometimes I’m still a 14 year old girl. I’m still lost in a fantasyland of everyone living on the same block with our houses together at the end of the cul-de-sac. I still picture a life of all us girls laughing on someone’s front porch swing, sipping wine, and watching our crazy kids run naked in the street. It’s not a half-bad fantasy.
But life isn’t the stuff of 14-year-old girls.
So last weekend, I ponied up and accepted my fate. I threw on my best lipstick, heels and a pseudo-smile and I went to my dear friend’s going away party. We drank cosmopolitans and mojitos and toasted and laughed and cried in the spirit of farewells and bon voyages and goodbyes. We took pictures and reminisced and told ourselves we’d all be okay with all the changes coming our way.
Last weekend, she hugged me tight. Before I left the party, she whispered, “this is it.”
And I think, if I can remember correctly, I swore at her then. I swore and got teary eyed and told her she wasn’t allowed to say that to me. Not yet. Not just yet. I wasn’t ready, and I’m still not.
And here we sit. Here we sit on the eve of goodbye and “oh crap, your’e really leaving” and I’m stumbling over my words.
Sweet friend, do I wish you well? (I’m selfish and don’t want to say it)
Do I wish you good luck? (Because I know you’re not going to need it)
Do I say we’ll write and we’ll call and we’ll Skype with Pinot Grigio in our hands? (Because, my God, doesn’t that sound fabulous?)
Do I say I’m praying for you? (Duh)
Do I tell you you’re the bravest girl I know? (You already know that)
Do I break down sobbing to let you know you inspire me, shape me, and make me a better version of myself by watching you live out the best version of yourself? (You don’t need my affirmation)
Do I say I miss you already? (Because you texted me that tonight)
I do not know. I wish I did. You are brave and adventurous and beautifully free and whole in ways I’ve been so blessed to watch. A small piece of me will take off on that plane with you, and for that I am forever grateful. What better gift than that of a friendship that carries a piece of my heart? Of my spirit? Of my small little world intertwined with yours? What greater gift do we get in this life?
You, my dear, are lovely.
I am happy for you.
I am excited for you.
I am cheering you on.
But just know I’m jealous of a city that gets to have you for this time. If anyone had asked me, I’d be renting the flat next to yours.
London is the lucky one.
I love you.
“For a New Beginning”
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
~ John O’Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us)