I hate goodbyes. I get anxious for them. It’s not so much the goodbye, it’s the in between. I hate being in between. I can’t enjoy the end of something, if I know it’s coming for a while. I first noticed this about myself when I knew I was leaving my life in Mexico, to live in the United States. I was okay with it because my evil step-father explained that I would be able to ride bikes in bike lanes, apart from the cars, and because we were going to take our cats. I was also okay with it because I wanted more than anything to speak English. As time went on, those things stopped being important. I hated spending time with my friends, the two Victors, one blonde and one brunette who both had crushes on me, and I on them. My best friend Erika, whom I would watch Saved by the Bell dubed in Spanish, with after school. My grandparents, that’s what made it hard. I didn’t want to leave them. I wouldn’t mind roller skating in the abandoned tennis courts when they weren’t flooded, and trying to ride my bike on the uneven cobble stone until it got stolen by our neighbors who trained dogs to fight. I didn’t have a choice. Eventually the choice didn’t matter it was the in between. The months of waiting until our flights and paperwork were set. I couldn’t enjoy my present life, and I was anxious for my future life.
Two weekends ago I parted ways with a big chapter in my life. I was anxious, the way I have been when I make big decisions. This one came quickly. Overnight, actually. One week prior I remember literally thinking after spending 10 years in and out of that place, most recently 5 consecutive years, 4.5 of those as a manager, that after everything I had been through there, I would stick it out until the bitter end. The reasons don’t really matter as much as the fact that one thing led to another, and faster than I could grasp what I was really doing, I resigned turned in my keys and quietly left one final time, not giving me time in the “in between.” Writing that I was sad would be an understatement. In my last two nights there I made it a point to say my goodbyes to a handful of people. People who protected me for all those years, worked alongside me, guided me, allowed me to guide them. I tried my best not to cry, but it was inevitable. It felt like a bad breakup. My ties to this place have interlocked themselves into all aspects of my life. I grew up there, a decade of my life – I learned to drink there, I learned harsh realities, so much good and so much bad. I made some of my closest friends there. Most of my best friends from my teens worked there with me at one point or another, those who didn’t have stories of someone’s birthday party or event here.
I am so thankful for the good and will carry it with me forever, but just like a bad relationship and a bad breakup this place drained me, took me for granted. I gave it my all and in the end I felt like it was for nothing. I wanted to write this sooner, for myself, to say goodbye in my own way, but I couldn’t. The past two weeks, just like a breakup were emotional. I worried about what would happen once I was gone, would I have enough money, would those I care about keep in touch. I felt anxious like all the times before when I reached for my phone, expecting the usual million notifications of complaints, rants, orders, negative comments – and it seemed surreal to see none – I had to remind myself those had ended. Feels weird to tell myself to breathe easily and move on, but that’s what I’m doing. Spending time with those who matter, sleeping in, and looking forward to fully letting go of the stress. Time for a new chapter!