Good At Goodbye

I caught a sting of you last night. There was an image of us, standing in my high school bedroom, holding hands fiercely as we said goodbye.
We were good at goodbye. The pair of us, clasping each other in my parents’ living room, bookending our relationship from beginning to end, realizing that from this moment going forward nothing would ever be the same again and sinking into nostalgia before we’d even turned the page.
I can see us walking across a carpark to a restaurant, and we’re waving. We’re saying goodbye to another couple and we’re getting in the car and Ed Sheeran comes through the stereo and it’s a year later and we’re on Skype, listening to his latest single, promising Lego houses and watching each other fall asleep.
We’re dropping you off at your parents’ house and your mum wants you home earlier and we’re smiling as we realize we’re not as old as we think yet. It isn’t over. Things still stay the same.
It’s dark outside and I’m walking home, alone, ringing you to make me laugh and the bus is late but you don’t hang up until I reach my door.
We’re in a club, on the dance floor and you’re protesting true love, and I’m walking away. You’re yelling and your face is doing that twisted thing that I was always afraid of and I’m walking, running to somewhere, anywhere that doesn’t sting. You’re at the airport about to fly home and you ring me to tell me that you’re leaving and you’ve bought a new book and we’re talking and it’s over and things will never be the same again and the airline calls and you hang up only at the last possible minute. I’m in my dorm room waiting for your call and my heart is breaking, the only time I have ever felt my heart rip, and it’s waiting on a phone call that I’m imagining will be to tell me that it’s over, things will never be the same again and you never want to hear from me.
We’re in my shared house and you’re buckling your helmet and you’re ready to leave me behind again and I watch you to the door. And I’m waving and you’re waving, a little unsteady as you weave through the cars parked haphazardly in the street. We go for coffee, and you bring me every product Reese’s has ever made and we fight so I leave and I wait at the bus stop, surrounded by peanut butter cups, swallowing that sting. We’re in the supermarket picking up burgers for a BBQ you won’t invite me to and someone mistakes us for a couple. And you yell as we climb back into the car and I try to regain a mediocre crumb of control as I drive you home with the radio turned off. I drop you off, I wave you in and I leave in tears.
You see me to the train station, after walking me home, and there’s a moment, the feeling I always dread when we say goodbye.
We were good at goodbye.

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