Entry 44: How to Say Goodbye
Whenever I watch a movie that has a farewell ending, much like Toy Story 3 or Terminator 2: Judgement Day, I don't have the same heartfelt moment that other people seem to have. In fact, while others cry their eyes out from watching the end of an era or the closing of a series, I am not affected by what should be an emotional scene.
Am I heartless? Actually, I'm more open about my feelings than my other guy-friends, and I'm comfortable with saying that I tear up in several movies (I don't bawl all over the place, but my face leaks like a broken dam).
The typical "sad" endings, however, don't phase me. Why not? Well, goodbyes are not part of my vocabulary. But wait, you say, I just used a goodbye in my title, how can it not be part of my vocabulary? I'm not being literal, of course.
When I was a child, my dad was in the military, and, as a result, I moved to a new location every couple of years. When my mother began a child-care service in her home, I was well aware that the other military children came and went frequently. To my childhood understanding, I knew that goodbyes didn't exist, but rather life came and went, so whenever I departed away from friends, I wasn't sad.
My first childhood friend was Christopher, and we were about 7 years old when we knew each other. He was the first person to introduce me to video games, which has deeply impacted my current lifestyle as a gamer. It was with him that I learnt how to enjoy simple things and not take life so seriously, especially when we were so terrible at video games.
When our families were assigned to move to another location, he gave me a parting gift that was a VHS tape of Christopher the Christmas Tree, so that I would never forget him. The last thing I remember of him was seeing sad tears on his face. I had no such sad feeling.
When I was about 11, my family got a Black Labrador puppy mixed with German Shepard. His name was Blackie, and while he was a great dog, the wooden fence sheltered him from the outside world. When we moved to another location, the new chain-link fence was jarring to him. He wasn't used to seeing neighbors walking by, so he would nearly bark his head off whenever someone passed by.
After a few years in this location, my dog had to take a temperament test to determine how safe he would be if my mother let her child-care kids outside. Out of the 11 tests he had to perform, he failed the first one by biting the vet's shirt.
Later, my dog eventually learned how to escape from a chain-link fence in different ways. One day, after he had gotten loose, he was captured by the Military Police (MP) and he bit the officer's hand.
He was a good family dog, but my mother began to have doubts after she gave birth to her third child. Blackie's fate was to be decided at the pound, and the MP incident did not work in his favor. I was in high school during that time, about 15 years old, and I was well aware that he was going to be put down. Even though I would never see him again, I did not feel sadness, probably because I knew he had a good life.
During high school I met my best friend, Greg, who was another military child. He was as much as a geek as I was, so when he changed schools to the nearby city and he physically bulked up, I was the only close friend that knew he was still a dork at heart. Because of our emotion friendship, he feels safe about opening up and telling me his feelings, knowing that I won't make much fun of him.
After years of friendship, we had to part ways. He was going to join the military and I was going to go to college, so this was an indefinite goodbye. I remember saying goodbye to him as he gave me one last hug. I felt his hot face on my shoulder, knowing that he was holding back the tears. I never felt the same sadness that he did, knowing that we may not see each other again for a long, long time.
Even more recently, about a few weeks ago, one of my coworkers experienced two funerals of people that he knew well. When I was given a condolence card to sign, I had no idea what to write. I was mentally shocked that I couldn't find a way to express empathy, but I also realized that I have never truly lost anyone close.
Am I an emotionless person? No, but I do not understand the profound impact that a goodbye has. It just doesn't register with me. Perhaps as an adolescent, being raised as a Christian, I grew up believing that goodbyes don't actually exist.
In closing, I'll say this instead:
See you next time.