I always knew she at least cared when she looked back after we’d said good-bye. It reassured me that she hadn’t forgotten me as soon as I was out of sight. I had yet to be replaced by the life waiting for her on the other side of good-bye, taking one last glance to get one more glimpse of the good times.
It was something I found amusing. Not everybody looks back to make sure you are still there. It’s like when you reach over to your friend or family member who’s with you on a roller coaster ride. The roller coaster is no closer to the ground, yet reaching over reminds you that a person you trust is still there.
I almost always forgot to look back for her too, though. Soon after we’d say good-bye I would hear her scolding shouts or banging on whatever glass window was separating us. “ROBYN!!” Her sudden yells would shatter me and tear me away from my own little world. This girl never even speaks loudly, let alone yells. I would turn back immediately, terrified and disoriented as the sound ripped me from the silence in my own head.
But I would always find my friend smiling and waving vigorously, and I couldn’t help but laugh. I would wave back again then watch my friend turn away to continue her departure. And it would make me miss her a little bit again.
As she continued on, I would keep watching to make sure she didn’t catch me not paying attention again. Soon after, she would turn back again and wave with the same joy but a slightly decreasing vigor. One side of my heart smiled and shared her joy, waving back and laughing. I was glad to see her turn around in a way. But then this pattern would continue on and on, and as she continued, the joy of her waving would dwindle and the sadness in my heart would grow to see her go.
Each glance felt less and less like a reassuring friendship and more like the slow release of exquisite memories–the kid of perfect memories, the ones you love most that you feel you may never be able to obtain again. I could feel she was letting go of the friendship before she lost it for good. As if it would crash and burn in the flaws of our own personalities. And maybe she was right to feel so, but it broke my heart anyway to never have a real chance. And I would feel a portion of my heart crumble with the reality that only my subconscious understood.
Then finally she was out of sight, and consciously, I feared I was also out of mind.