Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Just Can't Find a Simple Way to Say Goodbye

Today was an unexpectedly sad one. I'm leaving a job I only held for two months (not due to my own deficiencies, it's a seasonal position, lifeguarding) and six hours out I'm already missing some of the spectacular, hilarious, and soap-opera-y characters I met there. Some goodbyes I expected, even prepared for, but others caught me off guard. (I'm not using real names for the privacy of the individuals discussed.)
Emma: Another guard at the pool I've become pretty close with. It was an odd sensation, to be stuck with another human you don't know at all for up to eight hours and, when the pool is not busy, talk to them. It essentially meant that we got pretty deep into each other's lives pretty quickly. I could recite for you the names of her friends and boyfriends and tell you at least ten funny anecdotes about various combinations of those people. I could also rattle off a decent version of her belief statement and life goals. I'm sure she could say similar things about me. But now, this person who in two months has gotten to know me inside and out, I may likely never see again, an that's weird. I expected to hug Emma, I even sort of planned to. But she steeped out of my cr to her family waiting in the driveway and we parted with a promise to meet up in D.C. sometime over the next year  and visit. Goodbye, not as it was anticipated.
Marcy: Not someone who I'm particularly close with, but someone who frequents the pool. A middle-aged woman whom I've had several interesting conversations with. I didn't even realize she knew it was my last day until she was walking out of the gate. She stopped to wish me well for the year ahead and hope that I'll be back next summer (which, honestly, I probably won't). Unexpected goodbye.
Mark: This guy reminds me a lot of my dad and his friends. He has kids a little older than me and I've talked a lot to him over the summer about school, and plans, and future. He's funny and great when he plays with kids. Admittedly, the first day I met him I got a tiny bit of creeper-vibe, but it has vanished completely hearing him talk about his own kids and showing interest in my life. I expected him to say goodbye I suppose, but more of a "Have a great year," kind of deal as he walked out. Instead I got a tight, I-care-about-you, dad hug and a warning to stay safe and work hard. Goodbye, better than I thought.
Jess, Tim, and Joe: Joe is a four-year-old, off the walls, crazy, adorable kid at the pool. He's spent the summer playing mini-lifeguard for Emma and I and is clearly a smart and talented young man. As his parents got ready to leave, I walked over and asked for a hug and said I had to say goodbye. This exuberant, happy little kid started crying and screaming at me. I wished I hadn't said anything, he'd be too young to know the difference and would probably forget in a few weeks that I ever wandered into his life. His dad gave me his card (he's a part-time photographer) and said to look up the album of Joe pictures and keep in touch. He added his and Jess' phone numbers to the card and they walked away. Jess yelled back from the parking lot something to the effect of "Come back when you're 21 and we'll show you how to party." More than I...wanted goodbye.

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