On the 17th of August, when the sun could be seen at the edge of the horizon and all of our suitcases had been packed, we made our way out to the front of the family apartment. I never liked goodbyes. But it was time. Time to say goodbye to my extended family members, to the stray cats that lingered around our residence, to the nights when the power went out, to the flavored weddings and the mini shops that bestrew Libya.
Vacation was over and reality has awoken.
At a glance, I could see my mother’s eyes begin to water. I tried to keep my own tears in, but I just couldn’t. I’d become too attached to the place, the people, the atmosphere. I told myself that I wouldn’t cry. Not this time. Oh tears, just go back into my eyes will you? I thought. But goodbyes are more complicated than that. You don’t have as much control over your emotions as you may think.
I could see the sadness in everyone’s eyes. My grandmother held me in her arms, “goodbye honey,” I could hear her say behind her tears. My aunt wished us the best. My cousins, oh how I will miss them. Everyone told us not to cry and that we’ll probably see them soon. But who knows when we’ll be back. It could be a year. Or two. Or three. Or four. But let’s face it, the memories I’ll take with me are worth more than the silly goodbye blues—-the tears that would not stop falling. Even though I was sad then, I enjoyed the trip more than ever.
Maybe next time (if there is a next time), it will be different. Maybe I won’t cry when I say goodbye.
One last bow, Libya. It was extraordinary walking your earth this summer and waking up to your people. I hope I’ll be back soon.
But for now,
(P.S. Be good while I’m gone.)
death becomes routine
Who wore it better?
To fall asleep
The Kindness of Strangers.
Maggots & things