Þú birtist mér
Og verður að engu
Við höldum andanum
Eins lengi og
Við getum náð
Við lokum augunum
Höldum fyrir eyrun
Andann köfum niður
You appeared to me
To no other
And became nothing
We hold our breath
As long as
We can achieve
We close our eyes
And hold our hands against our ears
We hear no sound
Breathe and dive down
The tricky thing about “Goodbye” is after the first time you say it it starts to recur with increasing frequency
Like an infestation of caterpillars, unassuming at first, but eventually you see them on every corner, lurking on the corner of the most beautiful flowers
You don’t know it at first, that it will keep coming
Death is hard to handle when you haven’t faced it before
When you say goodbye to that first beloved creature or person you think you’ve made it over the hurdle once the tide ebbs
Only to be smacked with another wave before you know it
Everyone, everything dies.
That fact is what makes goodbye the hardest to swallow
The where did they go, why aren’t they coming back, what did I do to let this happen, why wasn’t it me, it was my fault.
Goodbyes stack up like raindrops in a precipitation gauge but the glass is never big enough
Once you think it’s full, you trade up.
After trading up a certain number of times you decide to skip the science and just go with a bucket.
Big. Cold. Hard. Steel. Truth.
It’s too large for what you did.
It sits in the corner and glares at you, cold, hard, look at me, clashing with the warm things you have, distracting you from them.
But you know it isn’t full, and that’s comforting
You start to think about it every day and wonder.
Some people compare their buckets of goodbyes
Like a contest,
Words becoming kings and losses pawns and goodbyes bishops.
A relentless, underhanded, passive-aggressive game for validation to see who has the coldest truth.
But if truth is pain then life must be empty.
Winner has the right to feel how they do, loser is upset over nothing.
As if the belittling of someone else, the “champion sufferer” badge will alieve the drops in the bucket.
They collect their goodbyes like patches on jackets to wear on their sleeve
and display with every step and every breath
They hide in their goodbyes because they are safe and consistent.
They are one thing ever-stable in a game where a roll of the dice can uproot you.
They pale and forget what the sunlight feels like
and those who don’t aren’t taken seriously.
I refuse to wear my goodbyes on my skin.
I refuse to use my goodbyes to invalidate the goodbyes of someone else.
Without fail I am underestimated for it for my gender, my stature, and my smile.
Pretty little girl who never had anything wrong happen, who is making shit up, who is just trying to hop on the train of the glamorization of depression when she admits to it, who clearly never had a problem because where is her jacket?
I keep it in the closet and I wear it when I need it.
More often than not, I don’t.
I look at it, and I remember.
I remember the friends. The family. The animals who were bigger people than most of the humans I’ve met. I remember what color their irises were and how they laughed and what food made them happiest and what color they liked best, and I suddenly like those colors more.
I wash my hands so no one sees the graves I have dug or the flowers I have yanked up and bundled into bouquets
And I remember
I remember all the days I had with those I loved before goodbye ended all of it.
And I think perhaps instead of lamenting goodbye I would celebrate Hello
And all of the joy hello brought us both
How hello changed my life just as much as goodbye
And I think maybe I should start sewing a dress from these patches to wear proud
Full of “smiles and joy of living,”
And while I stretch golden thread on a spool I realize I have far more Hellos than Goodbyes
And I sew a train, finer than any wedding gown, and carry every one of them with me
I laugh and smile and joke and comfort and inhabit that gown even if sometimes I feel like wearing my coat instead.
They see me in my dress and they think I have never said goodbye at all.
But I know, and my heart knows, and that’s none of their business, so I don’t worry over it.
I keep walking, anyway.
I keep my Goodbye coat in the closet, and I look at it, and run my hands over my Hello dress, and I remember.
I keep going, knowing that one day I will be added to the goodbye coats of others, so I hope that in the meantime my Hello will look good on them.
And I replace my bucket with mason jars."