how many good-byes do you think you’ll have in your lifetime? do you think there should be a limit? let’s say you’ve said good-bye 10,000 times by the time you’re __, shouldn’t that be enough? where do you find the balance between hello and good-bye? is there a hello for every good-bye? it doesn’t seem to be the case, more people leave than arrive in your life, wouldn’t you say? and why is hello never bittersweet? (okay, there may be times when greeting someone or something might be deemed a bittersweet moment, but i bet you’d be hard-pressed to name just one. that is not a dare, m______, i know how much you like a challenge.) speaking of balance, would you say you have had more happy good-byes than sad? now, i don’t mean the-happy-to-see-the-backside-of that person or this problem, but truly happy good-byes, ones where you might use the word ‘joy’ to describe that parting. would you say it is easier to remember the sad good-byes over the happy ones? (for the life of me, i cannot resurrect a single happy good-bye without scratching around in the dusty corners of my memory and even then it’s less a mission of discovery than one of resigned failure.) has the beatles song, “hello good-bye” popped into your head yet? (it is quite possibly the definitive lyrical disquisition on the topic, wouldn’t you say? but i am not here to parse the lyrics of the fab four.) can you recall any casual good-byes, other than those of recent memory? did you kiss the departing, touch their shoulder, rub their back? did you hug as you said farewell into their ear? do you remember how they smelled, what they said to you as the door closed behind them? we certainly remember when someone or something important comes into our lives, but is that a hello? and do we assign the same importance to that hello that we would if those people or that thing were to leave us and we were to say good-bye to them? it seems to me that we don’t often know what’s important when we first greet it as much as we do when we’ve gotten to know them or the reason for their arrival and then the anguish of parting is that much more impressive–leaving its stamp firmly embedded in our memories. and why would we consider it ‘etched’ into our brains? that seems painful to me. wouldn’t it be more fitting to say that we set aside a little part of ourselves for each time we say good-bye; that a piece of us drops away and it’s that loss of ourselves that we remember? is it not the deconstruction of our self that we miss when we say good-bye? another little chunk has fallen to the ground (the missing arms of the venus de milo); a piece of our fabric has torn away, got caught in the brambles of a farewell, fluttering now in the cold wind of the past. how many good-byes will you remember then?
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