Say Goodbye


We stood in the empty theatre hand in hand. Her hair told tales of sunshine and her eyes whispered stories of laughter and warmth. I watched her glowing in the soft light of the stage, those eyes flickering in a sad acceptance and determination, not wanting to say anything for fear of breaking out into tears. When she turned to look at me, I could see that we shared a similar gentle kind of sadness, for where it made my chest hurt, it lay in ripples of silver in her eyes.

“So this is it,” she said.

“This is it,” I whispered.

She hugged me then, and I felt as though the weight that sat in my chest was too much to bear as I hugged her back. This was a sadness that I had never felt before; I physically hurt from the isolation that it left in the cavity behind my heart, could feel a sharp pain as it caught in the spaces between my ribs, noticed how every time I blinked, tears threatened to spill from eyes that ached from a pressure that throbbed against hurricane irises and eclipsed pupils. This was a pure sadness. The kind of sadness that was complicated in its simplicity, the kind where it feels how autumns look. The kind that smells like the nostalgia of a warm summer day in the moments  just before dusk, when the sunlight catches the air in such a way that you can see particles of dust floating in a haze before your eyes. That kind of sadness.

We stood in the empty theatre, wrapped in each others’ embrace. Her smile no longer reached her eyes, and I could hear the miniature tempests in her tears as they fell in droplets down her face and into her hair. Something about the way that I felt her crying into me made something inside of me snap, and then I was crying too. I tried to suppress the sobs that were attempting to break free from my throat even though I felt like my chest was going to explode, for I knew that if I broke down entirely, she would fall apart too. We broke apart slowly and carefully, like each was afraid of shattering the other.

“Goodbye,” she said softly.

“Goodbye,” I breathed.

And then I watched her walk with her head held high to the foot of the stage. Just before she took her first step onto the stairs, she turned to look at me. She waved. I waved back. Though the gesture was simple, it spoke to me in ways that words never could. And I knew that this really was it. She stepped onto the stage, and found her light. I didn’t really get to see her perform because I was crying too hard. I knew she wouldn’t be able to hear my sobs and so I let go. I might have been able to pretend that I was okay if I had cried with actual tears. Instead, no sound nor tear came out. That is the worst kind of crying; where you try to scream but you can’t because you have passed the point of all sound. The kind of crying where this constant pain in your chest prevents you from stopping, and you feel like you can’t breathe because of the pressure in your lungs.

I had to leave before her performance was over; had I stayed to see the end, it would have been too final for me. As I turned to leave, I looked at her one last time and smiled a sad smile. That is how I wanted to remember her–the way she was at that very moment. She was one of those people who was born for the stage, and she was at home there. I knew that this would be the last time that I would see her perform, for she was leaving for good the next morning. And so, quietly, I left the theatre.



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2 thoughts on “Say Goodbye

  1. Dear Hope,

    Your blog has evoked a sense of emotion within me that I had bottled up for quite a while, I thank you for that. This piece of writing is beyond beautiful for it touched a part of my soul that had been “aching” for some time now. Life is truly rollercoaster isn’t it? The moment we feel like everything is stable, it flips its gears and turns life upside down.

    I understand what it is like to have to say goodbye to someone you love, it is possibly one of the most difficult times an individual is forced to endure. A goodbye isn’t usually a choice, it more so comes without an alternative option, and that is what kills us the most. “The last time…” feeling.

    They say when you realize something is happening for the last time, you feel it as if it were the first time. Could you imagine living your whole life like that. Every hug, every conversation, valued to such an extent, that love becomes passion, and passion becomes the purpose for your existence. What an incredible world it would be!

    I personally loved the line “We broke apart slowly and carefully, like each was afraid of shattering the other.” It exemplified the delicacy of human emotion and the sensitivity that encompasses our hearts. It is a line symbolizing unconditional love and the willingness to sacrifice for one another. And truly it reminded me of the love I had and still do have for a close friend I had to leave.

    The way in which you talked about your last memory of her being bitter-sweet was and is a reality of human experience that no one can deny. We love to be loved, and when we must detach in some way, shape of form we can only do so by giving ourselves space, for staying is a deadly mistake-it will only make our hearts shatter more and more.

    There were many beautiful lines in this work of art that touched me deeply and I can not thank you enough for the beauty you have ignited in my life. I have not come across a piece that has made my cry in quite a while, I am humbled and forever grateful for the gift of reflection you have given me.

    Warm Wishes,

  2. Malika,

    Thank you so much for your kind words! It honestly made my day when I read your comment and I am just so grateful that you even read my blog.

    I completely agree with everything you said in your comment, and your wise words impacted me greatly. It is nice to know that someone else knows the feeling of saying goodbye to someone you love, and equally nice to have another human being understand that kind of sadness. I suppose that it is both a blessing and a curse to love someone so deeply that their absence creates an earthquake in your world, leaving you to search through the rubble and try to find the pieces of who you once were; a blessing because to have loved and lost is better than having never loved at all; a curse because when someone who you love leaves, it alters the ways in which your mind works, and all of a sudden you don’t know who you are without them, can’t remember who you were before meeting them, and you have to reconstruct who you are. It is equally devastating when you realise that who you are without them is an entirely different person than who you were with them, and no matter how hard you try to get that person back you never will–you are left trying to figure out who you are once more. The pain that you feel after losing a friend who you dearly love is a pain that I have never felt before, and I feel comforted in knowing that someone else knows what I am talking about.

    In your comment, you said, ” A goodbye isn’t usually a choice, it more so comes without an alternative option, and that is what kills us the most.” and no truer words have been spoken. I cried a little bit when I read that, for you put the pain that I have been struggling to come to terms with into words–and that is a pivotal part of what makes goodbyes so hard; the fact that there is nothing that one can do.

    Thank you so much for your beautiful words, and for sharing your experience with me–your words touched me immensely, as well as allowing me to feel as though I am not the only human being in the world who has felt this way. Thank you so much, once more!!

    Infinite love and gratitude,

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