Dear Goodbyes: a love letter to a bittersweet acquaintance

A letter to a bittersweet friend


Lakshanyaa Ganesh

I haven’t always been good at accepting you into my life. You get a pretty bad rep, and I guess for a good reason: nobody likes change. It’s your best friend that always seems to be close on your heels, and fending you off means that I get to fend change off too; I get to relish in the way things are for just a little longer.  

I remember the first time you made your way into my life. You were thick and heavy in the air for my last day of second grade when I had to say goodbye to my favorite teachers and hug my best friends for the last time. All I knew at the time was that we were moving away, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to see them again. I really didn’t like you, and I remember my 7-year-old self stumbling my way through those goodbyes, not being able to find the right words to convey how much I loved my friends and how much I was going to miss them. Looking back, I don’t think I entirely understood what your presence in my life meant, I just had a bad feeling things were about to be different. You bring a really painful twinge in my gut, and it’s taken a while to get used to.

As the years went on, you danced in and out of my life as I went through friends and interests and dreams. You quickly became a constant in my life, and we warmed up to each other eventually. That’s not to say I’m not an emotional wreck every time you come around and I have to wish yet another person or place goodbye again (what can I say, I’m just a bag of emotions), and that’s not to say we haven’t had our falling outs; we were at a real low point in our relationship when I had to move across the country again after freshman year. I wanted to fight you off, to cling on to what I had before just a little longer. I had friends. I had a life. I didn’t want you getting in the way of that and messing everything up.

But chapters have to come to a close and years have to end. As the air starts to smell sweeter and feel lighter and I trade in my sweaters for shorts, you slowly make your way into my life again. You have to be with me as I see my senior friends off to college and I start thinking about applying to colleges myself. You have to be with me as I read my last book for English and take my last biology test, and I think hardest of all, you have to be with me as I say goodbye to this chapter of my life.  

I could scream and cry and stomp my feet in indignance again, but I think this time, I want to welcome you into my life with open arms. Closure is healing, closure is healthy and closure is only possible if you’re with me. Having gone through my fair share of failed friendships and lost interests, I’ve found comfort in closure, and I’ve had to say goodbye a lot. Through even the most painful goodbyes, however, I’ve realized that the one person I have never and will never have to say goodbye to is myself.

Your presence in my life has helped me realize that the only person I will always have by my side, the one and only constant I will ever have is myself. You’ve helped me realize that if I’m going to have to live with myself my entire life, I’m going to have to learn how to be OK with being myself, and I’ve eventually grown into my skin.

So, if you’re OK with it, I’m prepared to welcome the end of another year and another chapter with you by my side. I’m prepared to walk hand in hand with you not only through this ending, but through the ending of my high school career and onwards. I’m sure we’ll have our occasional mishaps and slip ups, and I know for a fact that some of the times you’ll have to be in my life will be a lot more painful than others. I just hope that you continue to be gentle with me and help me grow as a person like you always have, and for that, I thank you. I need you. I love you.

Love, Lakshanyaa