Sweeping the wooden floors of my room one last time, I started to get sad. The contents of my Allston apartment filled the roof carrier and the trunk of my dad’s minivan and it was time to say one last goodbye to my roommate Renee.
I went to her room downstairs, expertly descending the narrow spiral staircase that I’d had to use to access the kitchen for the past nine months. She was still snuggled up in bed with her boyfriend. I hugged him goodbye and she followed me upstairs to say hello and goodbye to my dad. When we hugged in the hall she started to cry and my heart warmed for her. Renee and I have been friends all though college, and roommates for two and a half years. First in a study abroad program in the Netherlands, then in our first apartment in Cambridge. We have matching tattoos and hundreds of pictures and a million memories together. She was crying, but it didn’t feel real to me yet. I’ll be back soon, my heart told me. Not for a long time, answered my head.
The previous few days were spent saying goodbye to friends around the city, classmates and coworkers and the guy I had been dating until only a few weeks ago. He seemed especially sad that I was leaving, and I understand. I’m going on a big trip, having a life-changing experience, and he is working hard at the same job he’s had for over a year now. It’s easier for me to look back at our relationship with fond memories and not be wistful that it didn’t last because I have something new in my life to fill the space where our relationship was. Lots of other people I didn’t say goodbye to at all, it was too hard to face all that emotion.
My coworkers from the restaurant where I was a waitress for a year made me feel very special the evening before I drove away from Boston. Our boss, Brian got me a cake that said “ByE” on it (ha ha) and ordered everyone lots of food and drinks to celebrate. They were wishing me well in the way we all know best, lots of drinks and laughter. We even played the “Heads Up” game from the Ellen Show on my iPhone, a real laugh when the guesser has no idea what the clues mean.
I regretted a few of the shots in the morning when the new subletter for my room showed up at 8AM. She was gracious about the few hours of overlap of her arrival and when my dad was coming to pick me up. But we made quick work of packing when he got to the city, and all my stuff was in the minivan by noon. Then a last sad goodbye, and a 7 hour drive home.