• Lydia Acevedo

An Essay: On Saying "Goodbye"

Updated: Sep 28, 2019

I hear the sound of rain hitting the pavement, I watch as it washes away our chalk-drawn hopscotch boards. Thunder roars over our heads, rattling our bones. Our bare feet dance on top of the saturated blades of grass. My best friend Irem is grabbing dirt from her dad's garden bed, mushing it into her palms. The weight of rain soaking our playclothes was outweighed by the excitement we felt of simply feeling no cares at all. 

This was the last day of summer. Earlier that same year I had moved into the white house that didn't really stand out. I have lived in a few houses and in comparison this one wasn't at the top of the hill, or at the end of a cul de sac, but it was the only white house on our street. I can remember my bedroom, it came with golden stars plastered on the walls. I remember the piano downstairs, the songs my dad would play. But most importantly I recall  becoming best friends with Nabhitha, the girl next door.

  Irem  loved the outdoors and knew the names of birds, bugs, plants. She taught me how to do cartwheels, and how to balance a spoon on my nose. I taught her how to leap, and how to build picture frames out of sticks. It was in the scorching sun we thrived, climbing trees she knew the names of, dancing in my front lawn around a Hello Kitty sprinkler, drawing in chalk at the end of our driveways. Irem would meet me in my front yard every morning. The days began to blend together from falling into ant piles, to jumping on her trampoline. The days began to feel like a Beach Boys record, I never wanted to end. 

I remember this summer so vividly, to this day I refer to it as “the summer that never ended”. Everyday the same sun fell upon us, was drawn over us. We would laugh in the world we created, a world of our own, within the borders of our backyards. We felt so big. 

Irem was a friend who I have never forgotten. She taught me what true friendship looked  like, what freedom looked like, and was there during my last moments of really being a child. I think that the universe brought us into one another's lives for a reason, and maybe that's why it hurts so much when I found out I had to move. 

The 2008 stock market Crash. Gusts of wind started forming from inside my home and soon I saw the life my family and I had created fade away.  There was nothing we could do to stop it. The clouds cried, dampening our last day of summer and my heart was so broken I couldn't build up the courage to write here and tell her where I’d gone. My house in the center of the street was sadly being ripped from my palms, in a way I couldn't then comprehend. I continue to wonder what things would've been like if I hadn't had to leave, and I wonder if the stars sit in the same places, and if her dad still has a garden, and if she still climbs trees, and sometimes I question if she even remembers me.

I lost touch for a while, I lost a sense of consistency that was my home, my friend, my world.  And thinking back to that summer it feels as if it never truly ended, I never wanted to let go. Sometimes I even replay the calm before the storm, the last time I wasn't uncertain. The stillness of comfort, and how quickly chaos can force you to rethink everything you know. That last summer with Irem is forever my happy place. Forever I wanted to wake up to feel on top of the world, even if it was only to one of my own creation. 

I see now how grateful I am for this chain reaction. All the places I’ve gotten to see, people I’ve gotten the chance to meet.  While looking back it hurt to always have “goodbye” in my back pocket rolodex, along with the fear that this would always be my reality. Moving from place to place makes you come to realize how much of an impact you can make if you always hit the ground running, how hard you can push yourself if you realize the fragility of time, and how rare it is when you stick in the same place long enough to get the chance to create a community worth wanting to cherish.

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