What I am going to do without you?
It is the question I silently ask each time I look into the face of another of my friends.
As time grows shorter, I hear the clock ticking loudly as it reminds me of how few moments I have left with the people that have come to mean so much to me.
I find it strange how my throat tightens in knots each time I tell another client that it won’t be me drawing up their next contract.
Then there’s the shortness in breath when my colleague who left on holiday reminds me that we will no longer be working together…
Small things… small moments that tell me that this Chapter of my life is about to close.
And I can feel the inevitable desire to grab these people and take them with me.
Crouched over a cardboard box, these thoughts began extracting tears even though happiness is in my heart.
About to embark on sob nostalgic trip, I was rescued by one of those friends you know you can count on be it in hell or high waters…
Unable to be serious for more than fifteen minutes, I was glad for the company that wouldn’t let me sit on my pity potty for very long…
Coffee turned into a drive that took us for pizza which we walked off on the promenade at midnight on a hot summer’s evening.
I didn’t feel like going home yet, and so we drove around for a little longer as I surrendered to the image of Madeira by Night.
When would I have the chance to once again take a ride in his 4X4 listening to the great sounds that resounded in my soul, as I stretched my arm out the window, feeling the night air on my face?
Fate has a way of speaking to me with deja vu, unexpected surprises or irony… and this time, two weeks before I leave, I hear the same song I heard two weeks before I left South Africa, four years ago this Friday.
What am I going to do without you, I asked him.
Don’t worry, there will be another Joe on the other side, and wherever you go I’ll still be your friend.
So this is probably the last braai I see you at before you go?
My friend’s question broke my heart as much as it was breaking hers and I had to force a smile while I choked back a tear.
What am I going to do without you?
All of you…
Each and every one of you…
There wasn’t a face present that I wasn’t truly and deeply sad to let go…
And as I left the warm embrace of friendship, I realised how blessed I truly am.
After what must’ve been the most intense meditation I’ve ever gone through, we were read a piece of Buddha’s life in which we are taught to practice detachment from all things, material or otherwise.
Two of the new additions to the group, voiced their opinion about how hard it is to be detached, not so much to things but especially to people.
Although they were merely expressing their thoughts, it felt like they were talking directly to me and inside I found the courage to explain to them my definition of detachment:
Someone recently said to me: “this time around should be easier for you, considering that you’ve done this before and that the distance isn’t as great”.
Not at all, I answered.
This time around, I’ve made triple as many friends as I had. I’m leaving not three family members but around thirty whom I love and cherish. This of course isn’t even counting the new family of colleagues that I’ve adopted at work and not to mention the strangers that I talk to daily which have become a part of my life… the girl that waits with me at the bus stop, the man that squeezes the oranges for my juice in the morning, the lady that cleans up our office and even the old postman that fetches and drops off our express mail each day.
This time around, I opened my heart wider and gave it to so many more people…
The difference is that this time around I will not suffer for their absence…
I will instead feel blessed for the presence that they had in my life and will continue to have…
I will not leave my loved ones behind because I take them with me in my heart.
I will not love them any less or think of them less.
One should rejoice for the love that was given, not hurt because of it.
I refuse to detach myself from the people I love and care about.
I know that when I see them again, be it in a month, in a year or perhaps even a lifetime from now… I will still feel for them in the same intensity that I do today.
Because my heart is big enough for everyone and I’m happiest when I’m undetached.
So if you see me crying… just know the tears are not those of sadness but of pure joy of the opportunity that life has given me to know and love you.
What am I going to do without you?
I will remember you and smile…
And look forward to when we meet again.