Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Last Post

Closing a decade long chapter in our lives, Claire and I have had to face a lot of final moments over the last few days and weeks. Everything from seeing friends before we leave, to going somewhere we haven't been in a while. Work and play all have their share of closures, some easier than others.

The last week at work. I hated it. Not because I didn't want to be there. I very much did. I love my job, and just didn't want to have a "last week", or, worse, a "last day". I could feel this growing sense of gloom with each passing hour. Once the dreaded day arrived, I managed to hold back the tears amid repeated reminders of why I love my work, from my co-workers, other teachers, parents, and most of all, the kids themselves. I finished my day at noon, but left some time after half two. I dragged out the last moments as far as I could. But still the time came. As I walked out of the gates for the last time, my body cracked and my breathing shuddered, and I finally cried.

The last time with friends was never going to be easy, but I am so lucky to have so many, I was fooled into thinking it wasn't all that painful after all. Saying good-bye at our going away party was fine. I knew I'd be seeing a lot of my friends between then and now. Saying good-bye to my Early Childhood Studies friends was slightly more painful as I really was the last time we'd all be together as this group. It was numbed by speedy departures, avoiding long good-byes and leaving that clutching feeling you get in your chest until after the fact. I also avoided going back as far as any of their cars in an effort to escape the inevitable, final flood of emotions. And there was always the chance I'd see any of them before I left. I still had days to go before the flight! I was still in Ireland, still in Cork. It wasn't time yet.

Time.

The last time eating in Puccinos, where we had breakfast almost every Sunday for five years. The last time we celebrate New Years together. The last time walking around UCC. The last time wandering aimlessly into Other Realms. The last time I go to the weekly Sunday morning breakfast. The last meal from Lennox's. The last time playing BattleStar Galactica. The last time gaming online in the same time zone. The last time hanging out and just chatting. The last time we'll ever just be together as one group, one fellowship, one amazing collection of the best people anyone could wish to call friends.

The last day. Time was starting to run out.

I chat to Kris. I hand him my keys. I say my good-byes. I feel my eyes water, my mouth turn dry and my voice shake. I want to stay longer, but I can't. I don't have time.

I hug Ashka. Claire puts her in her carry case and we pack her stuff into the car. All the way to Cork I rest my hand on her. She doesn't complain like she usually does when she is locked up in that small box. She just sits quietly while I cry. The city lights are ahead. It's almost time to let go.

I stand outside in the night air. All around me are people that have written in the chapter of my life I am closing tonight. There isn't anything I can say to tell them how important they are to me. Instead we just joke and smile and fight back the tears. My voice shudders briefly. Time to go.

I sit on the step of the stairs. Ashka purrs softly on my lap, and I feel those tears returning. She's our baby, our child that we've raised and loved. She's staying with the best people we could hope her to be with until she can come back to us, but we'll miss her terribly. I hold her tightly and whisper things she doesn't understand. Time to leave.

I try to say something. The words stumble out. I hug them both and step outside. The door clicks behind me and I turn to Claire. "You ok?" I ask. ""Yeah. You?" "No. Let's go home. We have too much to do and too little time."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We'll miss you too. - Ninja Dave

Hazel said...

You made me cry again, Ryan!
We'll really miss you guys.
Good luck and we'll see you on the flip side.