These past several days…or week, even…has been one of much upset.
Not in a particularly disastrous or unexpected sense, but all the same…it was not a week of profound bliss. Except for the fact that there’s now a Small Inouye to contend with. That, of course, makes me incredibly happy.
I spoke to my dear friend Amanda, and between marveling at her smooth, polished, marbley new British accent, I heard the unmistakable sound of broken hope and utter fatigue. I found myself, cell phone in hand and tears streaming, standing on a sidewalk in Corinth Mississippi and wishing for nothing more than five minutes in London – just so I could see that porcelain face and maybe make her smile. I gave her cliches and shattered useless words because they were all I could find. They weren’t enough. I sent up quick prayers for profound wisdom…and came up with nothing more than a choked-back sob. I hung up feeling like a failure as a friend, and wishing like crazy for a chance to redeem myself.
I spent the weekend away, for time that I needed and the kind of fun that I’d forgotten I was still allowed to have. I enjoyed myself and was homesick all at the same time, which I suppose is totally normal.
My friends became parents to a whopping baby boy (congratulations again, Dan and Jackie).
Then I came home to a frazzled day on Monday, a day spent Xeroxing and sorting and folding and ignoring the fact that I was setting myself up to lose a friend.
Monday night was the farewell service for Tim Jones, who was my boss – my priest – and over the past eight months, had become my friend. A thousand goodbyes have been said for the past month – people passing through with well wishes for Tim and his family on their move back to England. Articles were written, speeches were made, presents were given. I was a funnel for much of this – jotting down messages, handing over greeting cards, delivering packages.
I gave no gift, I wrote no card. I never thought about it, really. This past weekend, when reference was made to Tim’s leaving, I shut it out and put it away, determined not to be another teary face among the many.
Monday night, even, in the flurry of people, I kept myself cheerful and helpful.
It wasn’t until the down-to-the-wire moment, when the processional into the church had already begun and I was whisked into Tim’s office to last-minute print out a document for the service, that all the events hit home at once.
I looked around at the empty desk, the still-to-be-shipped boxes, and I realized that he was going. My friend was going away, taking his family. I waited on his stupid slow computer to bring up the text I needed, and I shed the tears that I suppose I knew I’d have to eventually shed.
Even now, looking around the empty office, it doesn’t seem real that he’s gone. As the pieces of paper with his handwriting dwindle, I realize it more. Maybe by next November I’ll have stopped waiting for the sounds of humming Jimmy Buffett and random British shouts of glee from the office beside mine.
I thought that time heals all wounds. I lost Amanda to England, and it hasn’t gotten easier – my emotional sidewalk phone call proves that.
It’s okay to mourn the loss of people to distance, right? I hope so. Because it seems that the people I love have a tendency to itch away from here. Maybe one day I will, too, but for now I’m sad to be the one left behind.
*The above pictures were shamelessly stolen from Facebook.