It’s been 1,635 days since I first heard her laughter.
And it’s been much less time since I’ve learned to put the Good in Goodbye. But she, she was built to make Goodbyes feel a little less sad and Hellos a little less daunting.
And maybe, somewhere between Day 1 and Day 1,635, she coaxed me into the back office and told me to pull up a chair. Maybe she did that six hundred times, for all I know. I didn’t know I should be counting. Didn’t know I should be holding and crunching my insides and begging someone would tell me to stay another three hours and click click click the price sticker gun along a row of winter jackets knocked onto the sale rack.
But that’s what happened.
Door cracked open, three syllables whooshing into her closet-sized office, enough to make her swirl around and Come In, Come In, What Are You Doing Here?
I wanted to tell you what I’m doing with my life.
And ten minutes later she is laughing in that swivel-backed chair, asking another six hundred questions to tally up this last moment of us together in this room in this outlet mall in this city in this state that held me close for eighteen years.
She nursed the blow when push came to shove, when my arms wrapped around my insides and I didn’t know how to get from Sunday night to Monday morning.
Because she was there. Hands up in the air the minute someone knocks over a nesting table with glittery lettering and flower power paraphernalia. Putting this misery of mine into perspective by busying my hands and warming my heart with the interest I couldn’t always find elsewhere.
She is the kind of person who gets a love letter three years too late but you will always feel happy the minute you stick a stamp in the corner and send it off.
She is the kind of person who coaxes quiet a seventeen-year-old into laughter by teaching her about herself. Giving her a dose of faith and an ounce of sarcasm and a hint of humor to fill the insecurities stuck inside her ribcage.
When I leave, it is slow and steady, footprints unmarked on the wood tiled floor. Her hands whirl around as she tells me what’s changed since I last swung open the glass doors.
And even though I am going to be two hours away, it doesn’t feel like a Bad Bye. It doesn’t feel like I am losing the part of me that knows how to open doors and shut others the minute I step inside and scan the first item of clothing. It feels like the piece that carries itself, the stubborn price sticker on the bottom of my sneakers that will end up, inevitably, with me forever.
By the way, every month I send out a short + sweet newsletter brimming with cool finds related to the monthly theme. It'd be stellar if you subscribed. If it's not worthy, it doesn't go in the newsletter. That. Simple.