“Here we are at the end
Say goodbye to all of your friends
Here we go watching the sun go around
Sitting on a rooftop, making time stop
I never wanna come back down, never wanna come down.”
-Theory of a Deadman- End of The Summer.
Goodbyes are a part of everyone’s lives. Sometimes they are wanted, sometimes they are needed and sometimes there’s just no avoiding them. I’ve been living here in the state of Mississippi for a long time now. Eight months to be exact. It’s one of those things that seems long and short in the same breath. A bit like a slinky or the string of a yo-yo. It was changing the calendar to April that made me aware that this time bomb is indeed ticking. It’s my last full month living with Jana and the realisation really hit me. [Boy, I wish that was an April fools joke…] Just how much time is enough time? There just isn’t with people we love. To quote Nickelback you’ll “never be together long enough ’cause every moment I’m with you it’s like I’m holding on to heaven.”
The way I’ve come to see it is that goodbyes come with their own grief and mourning. “All good things come to an end,” as Nelly Futado once said (or sung 😉 ). That passage of time then becomes irretrievable and honestly, that’s the part I’m struggling most with about accepting that the end is coming. Time-that friendly foe of mine, is running out. I’ve mentioned this in a few posts now and trust me its tiring to keep thinking about. My mind travels back and forth across the ocean consistently, with or without the aid of an English person featuring in my inbox. Like running your index finger across a piano constantly that its mundane and you don’t appreciate the sound it makes anymore. Even when I try to “make the most of the time left” someone always goes and plants those seeds of thought back into my brain. Re-igniting the same sparks of anxiety. They don’t mean to of course, it’s just conversation to ask me when I’m leaving, my plans for the future or about England in general. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t annoy me. My friend Sydney said “maybe they keep asking because they want to throw you a party!” This made me laugh because I’m not quite that popular!
One day soon (yet to decide exactly when) I’ll be right back to square one (home) and I’ll be “at your disposal” (in a way) again. I know it’s important to plan for the future but it doesn’t feel so good when it’s swallowing up your present. I know good things and even better days are coming, but equally good things and good times are about to come to an end! It took coming here to realise just how defining nationality is of a person. That never even occurred to me when I lived in England. But it is a very important factor in who we are as people. I’ve always said that “it takes leaving England to realise just how lucky you are to actually BE English.” We’ve GOT IT GOOD my friends, take a moment to remember that! My flatmate Jana is tired of me discussing the end of our “American Adventures,” and to be honest I can’t say I blame her! But we’re both on the same page in that we are ready to go back when our time comes. There’s not much more for us to do out here since this is a young country, so other than the obvious tourist spots- there isn’t a lot left that we want to see. Plus I miss having all my possessions under ONE roof, not having to worry about money and, of course, driving that delightful convertible car of mine! Perhaps that’s the “good in goodbye?”
“It’s the end of the summer, it’s the end of it all
Those days are gone, it’s over now, we’re moving on
It’s the end of the summer, but we’ll see it all again
So hold on to this moment till then it’s the end of the summer
End of the summer.”
– Theory of a Deadman- End of The Summer.
You’d think that after having spent time living in Australia for 2 months in 2013 that I’d be “prepared.” I’ve seen, done and experienced a lot more out here- the personal journey of self-discovery has been much more substantial to my life. What’s different this time is that I know that culture shock happens when you arrive AND RETURN. Leaving Australia was one of the MOST emotional times of my life. No, there was no “great tragedy” involving death or some heinous crime. But it didn’t half feel that way on August 31st 2013. When someone dies you accept (eventually) that it’s final, in every sense of the word. But having to do that with people who are still living and breathing was extremely difficult, for me anyway. I remember during my last week in Australia, I consistently had dreams about being packed off back to Blighty days before I was supposed to. Every morning, I’d wake up to my pulse racing with anxiety, filled with relief to still see the ceiling fan above my head, knowing I still had time. Knowing when the last day would come was like playing Jenga. The day I had to leave was that moment before the wall comes crashing down. You know when it’s teetering on destruction and you’re not sure when EXACTLY it’s going to topple but you know it’s only a matter of time? I’d never seen myself like that before, or even felt like that. My walls quite literally crumbled and my eyes were swimming in tears. It was like a turning on a tap (every time you turn the tap- water comes out) that plane ride (along with the transfers). Every time I thought about AUS I’d just cry all over again; a very long 24 hours of flying! You could call it “a flight of reflection.”
“And then I crashed into you,
And I went up in flames.
Could’ve been the death of me,
But then you breathed your breath in me.
And I crashed into you,
Like a runaway train.
You will consume me…“
-Crashed by Daughtry.
“Ride’s almost over, it’s getting colder
Take one last look before it passes by
Before it passes you by…”
-Theory of a Deadman- End of The Summer.
However, what I seem to forget, ironically, is the concept of time. The “then and now.” The “before and after” effect. I was eighteen then and I’d had an extraordinary year coupled with equally trying times. The highest of the highs will give you the lowest of the lows. Technically (and physically) I am still that person, but a lot has happened and changed in my life. I’ve lived in a fair few places across the globe now for one! I think what bothers me the most is the fear of the “jenga heart” occurring to me again. I remember when I was leaving the terminal at Heathrow as I arrived back on home soil just how alien I felt to be back. I felt almost uncomfortable hearing all these English accents around me that I wanted to turn around and leave again. A “foreigner” in my own country. The vast change panicked me. The “bomb” hasn’t gone off yet, there’s still potential for it to explode into a rainbow of fireworks. To turn a sea of change into a collage of memories. Do goodbyes always need to feel destructive? It’ll be bittersweet nonetheless. I’ve got a maximum of just under three months to dissemble the negative in the goodbye bomb and edit it into a bittersweet shedding of an extraordinary experience. Can I do it? Only TIME will tell.
“Only when I’m gone have I been away too long.”