It’s All In The Way You Leave

I’ve always been a fan of the good ole’ Irish goodbye, a lover of the French exit. Goodbyes are difficult – emotionally taxing and hard to face up to. Usually, you know when they’re coming, but even then they can creep up on you until you’re unprepared and forced to do it anyway. I was always eventually going to have to go back home, but now here it is, and I can’t say I’m ready for it.

In one week’s time I, alongside many other students, have to say goodbye to Ann Arbor, U of M, and most importantly, the people that made our time here what it was. I’m leaving to go back to London, so my goodbye feels decidedly final. I know it will likely be a very long time, if ever, I walk these streets again, eat at these restaurants again, experience what makes Ann Arbor special again. I’m desperately hoping the goodbyes between my friends and I are temporary, as it’s too heartbreaking to consider that I might never see most of these people again.

I got dinner with a friend yesterday who told me he didn’t want to let me out of his sight, because he was worried he’d never see me again. I almost cried, standing outside of Sava’s coming to the realization that after graduation, the next time I’ll see him is distinctly unknown. This is a guy I’ve known since freshman year, that I tell all my secrets to, a guy that has never judged me and has supported me through every single struggle I’ve had. He understands my mental health as very few people do, and yet in one week, all we’ll have are Facetime calls and texts when we have a spare second. It really doesn’t feel like enough.

It’s truly too difficult to picture myself walking away from my best friend. This unsentimental girl with whom I share a brain, who won’t ever be prepared enough for the emotions that’ll overwhelm me come May 6th when I walk out of our front door for the last time. We’ve been on the same page since I met her in the lobby of Markley, and it pains me to think that I won’t be coming home to her anymore like I have every single day of my Michigan life. We have a pure, open, honest friendship that now has to withstand a permanent long-distance. The unwavering support and understanding we have for every facet of each other’s lives is now going to have to be given in a different way, and we’ll have to deal with not knowing every person or every detail. When she gives me friend advice, what’s going to happen when she doesn’t know the friends? And when she gives me guy advice, what’s going to happen when she doesn’t know the guy? She knows everything about me, but how do we make sure that stays true when I begin to change in each stage of my future? How do we continue to grow together, when we’re thousands of miles apart? Everything points to us being able to do it, but the thought that we might not is so unbearably sad to me that I can’t even begin to imagine it.

   

I fell in love with these people. They each made their mark on me, and I am undoubtedly a different person to the 18-year old that arrived in Ann Arbor. I grew up and found who I was meant to be, nurtured by these wonderful, special individuals who won’t ever know the full extent to which they impacted my life. I can’t imagine who I would be without them, and to leave feels like I’m leaving part of my heart, part of my soul here. I don’t think I could have ever had enough time with them, but in the few years we had, we made memories I’ll never forget.

I made friends and lost them; I secretly fell for someone and had my heart broken; I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It has been, and always will be, great to be a Michigan Wolverine, and I am forever grateful to my parents and family for helping me get here and facilitating my dreams. The goodbyes will be bittersweet, but they’re a testament to how incredible these people really are. And here’s hoping it’s the only goodbye until next time.