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Hello, Goodbye

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If there is one thing that I can never get used to, it is change. I have had enough life experiences to understand the overbearing concept of change and the importance of welcoming it every time it decides to just waltz in, but part of me cannot help but hold on to the past. I am the type of person to record every little detail of my day into my planner, to document all the events that I go to, to save the tickets to movies that I saw years ago, to keep a box of mementos, and to revisit the past every once in a while. This is why last summer serves as the foundation for this summer, as the ground for which I will build my future on, as the underpinning for which I will begin my life on, and as the bridge between juvenile obligations and mature responsibilities.

I remember one day in the summer when the “four of us” – Forrest, Nguyen, Sanya, and I – spent the whole afternoon in her swimming pool. It was a gorgeous day. The light breeze that stirred the air rustled my hair every once in a while, the warmth of the sun kissed the tips of my skin – the point of my nose, the round of my shoulders, and the curve of my back, the coolness of the water caressed me, and the tranquility of that day relaxed me. And when the sun began to set, we all retired back to the smaller built-in pool. Forrest and I sat on one side; Nguyen and Sanya right across from us. We resorted to playing the Question game, asking things like, “If a guy could do anything for you, what would you want him to do?” and “What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done?” The heat of that day along with the contradicting responses from both groups led the girls to pairing up with one another and vice versa for the boys. The focus shifted from pure boredom to genuine curiosity. We all began asking questions that served as either roadways towards doing something romantic or gateways to intimate conversations about one’s personal life, both of which failed miserably.

Once the night air started to settle in, we all got up and migrated to our own corners of the swimming pool. I chose to stay in the water. I loved the feeling of being engulfed by the water to the point where my entire body was embraced by it, all but my face. I loved the feeling of floating: the weightlessness, the relaxation, and the security of knowing I would be okay. I loved the feeling of contradicting temperatures: the way the heat mixes in with the cold, the way the warmth creates a shield around me, and the way the cold air penetrates it with bursts of wintry dispositions. I loved the feeling of forgetting: the ability to, even just for a second, forget where I was, what I had to do, and what was right. I loved the feeling of being independent, of being able to take control of what I wanted to do next, where I was going to go from here, and how the future will look like in a few minutes. Those few minutes I spent just quietly floating along in that sea of serenity was the first and last moment in which I held the most control over my life, my future, and my happiness.

Eventually, it got late and the boys had to go home, so Sanya and I walked them both to Forrest’s car. We were both careful to take our time and thoroughly enjoy every second we had left with them until the last embrace, the last smile, and the last closed door. After five minutes of farewells, final kisses, and dramatic releasing of hands, Sanya and I began to make our way towards her house, but just before the half way point, we heard our names being called. Turning around, I remember seeing both Forrest’s and Nguyen’s heads sticking out of the parked car’s windows, arms waving frantically in the air with enormous boyish grins on their faces, excitedly shouting, “We hate good-byes, but we love you!”

I felt immense warmth taking over my body, a massive smile spreading across my face, and the idea that everything will finally be okay taking over. We looked at each other then – Sanya and I, hand in hand – and let out an excited squeal. We immediately took off towards our respective significant others and drowned them in a series of overwhelming hugs and kisses to show how ecstatic and appreciative we were. In that moment of pure excitement, ecstasy, and gratitude of being blessed with the opportunity to be in each other’s presence, the sweetness and charm of summer love overpowered my senses and thoughts, and for once, the idea of saying good-bye was not so daunting. It was more breathtaking, heartening, and exhilarating than anything, because it guaranteed a second meeting.

The simplicity of that night never escapes me, but neither does the fun, the comfort, and the uncomplicated ways things worked out. Looking back at that night, I saw how carefree and independent we all were, unaffected by the future or academic obligations we would all be tied down by. Looking back at that night, I get both excited and worried about the future and what would come of it.

Last summer was characterized by a continual cycle of hello’s, good-bye’s, and reassured meetings that would eventually lead to the reuniting of past classmates under one roof; this summer will take a completely different turn. This summer will be the first summer that leads to a school year where we are all separated, a summer where we all test our freedom to the max, a summer where we put forth the application of all the life lessons we have accumulated over the years, a summer where we are forced to face one of the biggest change in our lives: college, and a summer where we finally take notice and embrace the person we have gradually become over the years.

This summer will be the summer where the word “good-bye,” whether I love it or hate it, is louder than ever, more permanent that ever, and more heart-breaking that ever. It is the time to realize that change, whether it is overbearing, difficult, or suffocating, is a necessity in life. I admit that looking forward into the next couple of months, I am petrified for my life worrying about how I am going to do in college, how all the lives of my beloved ones are going to be like, and how much my future will turn out. I hate not knowing what is going to happen, whose going to stay in my life, and how life is going to treat me, but that is where change becomes necessary and striking. Change forces me to grow up, to appreciate everything I have, to love the people around me even more than I already do, and most importantly, to not be afraid of saying “good-bye,” because I know, that someday, I will get to say “hello” again.





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