Goodbye is something I was never very good at. Mostly because I refused to believe that you will never see someone again or be somewhere again. But today I had to do a very hard thing - I had to say goodbye to the town that has been my home for the last four years and to all the people who are still there.
And it was not fun.
It still hasn't really hit me that I've moved back in with my parents for good. I feel like I'm just here for the weekend, only it's not the weekend and I have no apartment to go back to. I hate that I'm away from all my friends and I hate that I don't even have my own bedroom in this house anymore. I'm mad that I'm spending my favorite season and hour and a half away from where I want to be. I have tried to have a good attitude about this move. I knew it was coming for a long time - but the reality is still hard to bear. I think I'm allowed to be mad though. To grieve for my lost independence and the freedom that came with no longer living in my parents' household.
I suspect it won't be all bad. No rent. Free food. People who love me. But it just feels...odd. Like I wasn't ready for it and all of a sudden my world has changed.
Friday night I was hanging out with a whole bunch of my friends. I was sitting on the couch, squished between some of my favorite people on the planet. The room was full of laughter about stupid things and dumb conversations, but I loved every minute of it.
And that's when it started to sink in. This overwhelming feeling that I won't get to do this for a while. It felt like the walls were going to cave in and that's when I bolted for the door. The back porch was a much better alternative - far less crowded and no ceiling to collapse on top of me. I curled up in a white wicker chair that faced the yard and took a deep breath. My life was about to change forever and in that moment I couldn't handle it.
Nathaniel came to check on me, but at that point I still had no words for why I was out there by myself except that that's where I wanted to be. He tried to coax me back inside, but at the moment I just wasn't ready. I needed some time and some space.
I was alone, looking at the stars and having a regular pity party on the porch. I'm sure it was a sight to see, but guys, it just had to happen. I hadn't had time to really think about what it meant to leave, and that back porch was my moment.
The back door squeaked open and then closed again. I heard footsteps on the deck behind me, but the person those footsteps belonged to didn't try to touch me. Honestly I thought it was SVI taking a cigarette break, which would explain why he didn't approach me because we don't do a whole lot of interacting these days. But then the person stopped moving and the stars reminded me of how much I wished I could just stay there and stare at them forever.
And guys? I cried. I tried to fight it, but there was no use. A couple gentle sobs found their way to the surface and there was nothing I could do. Soon I would have to say goodbye to this house, to the people who lived there, and to that beautiful night sky. It was more than I could take. And then I was interrupted by one of those people that I was going to have to say goodbye to all too soon.
He sat down across from me and just started talking. Telling me all sorts of wonderful things to make me feel better. I wiped my eyes and answered him in a shaky voice at first, you know the kind that come after tears when you're still a little unsure of yourself. The person who I previously thought was SVI moved out of the shadows and sat on the other side of my little white chair. It was Nathaniel.
Immediately I was embarrassed that he'd heard me crying, but the conversation was taking off and the three of us sat on that back porch and talked until four in the morning. I don't even remember everything we talked about, but I was so incredibly glad for that conversation and the distraction that it afforded me from being an over emotional girl.
It's not easy to say goodbye to those people, but I made promises to come back and visit and they made threats to kill me if I didn't. So it's not really as much of a goodbye as I let myself believe at first. I just don't know what it's like really to pack up one's life and leave.
Living with my parents is going to be its own adventure, which I just have to learn to embrace. But for now it feels like I've left my home behind and I'm trapped in this unreality of living somewhere that's not my home. Sure this is where my family lives, but I don't have a place here anymore, or at least it doesn't feel as though I do. Maybe that will change as time goes on, but I feel like a stranger in this house. Nothing is mine.