Sometimes it’s best not to say goodbye.

Farewells are always messy affairs, riddled with anxiety and emotion. I don’t understand why we are so obsessed with the practice, why we feel compelled with placing a nice, neat bow on an entire portion of our lives. Its like were forcing a chapter to end instead of allowing it to happen naturally.

We don’t say goodbye to our childhood friends when our time is over, not in the traditional sense. One day we just say, “see you tomorrow,” but that tomorrow never comes. We return home from playing, none the wiser that it would be for the very last time. It’s a gentler way of going about it, I think. 

This is what is running through my head while sitting on our dark-green leather sofa, crammed between my mom and dad. Instead of relaxing in the relative quiet of my room, working on my art or getting a head start on the English 111 reading list, I’ve been guilted into watching hours of television with them as penance for daring to go to an out-of-state university. My dad didn’t put up too much of a fuss, but my mom…well, that was a different story entirely.

It didn’t matter that I was 18 years old, or that I had barely been out of West Virginia more than a handful of times in my life. I was still her boy, her little Fredrick, and the idea of me moving to Austin, Texas was a tough sell.  

It had taken some convincing, a little begging, and no small amount of begging to persuade her, but when it had come time, she relented. In doing so, this was the price I had to pay, a seemingly endless torrent of CSI reruns. Before I would even get the chance to make bad decisions or try drugs, I was destined to die of an overdose of Gil Grissom.

Life is suffering.

Our little tuxedo cat dashed along the hardwood floor before coming to a rest at our feet, her orange eyes staring upwards at us longingly for our attention as a teacher-turned-serial killer attacked an unsuspecting blonde on her way back to her dorm room after a late-night frat party. She was dispatched quickly with a flanged mace before being diced up like a tomato and stuffed piece by piece into the book return slot at the campus library. 

“Looks like they’re serious about their late fees,” the onscreen detective quirked with a flat affect as he surveyed the carnage.

God, I hate this show.

The cat, annoyed that our attention was still on the magical glowy box rather than her, took it upon herself to rectify the situation and leap up onto my dad’s lap, causing him to jump up in fright, spilling his can of soda all over his chest.

“Dammit Margo!” he shouted as he ripped off the saturated Hanes t-shirt, using the dry portion to dab off his saturated collarbone.

Margo, feeling unappreciated, slinked off to the vacant suede recliner across the room, where she nestled into a ball of adorable irritation. I couldn’t help but to laugh. My dad and our cat have been locked into a toxic love-hate relationship ever since she first showed up on our doorstep two years ago. It’s comforting to know that someone will keep the old man on his toes while I’m away.

We kept watching for a few hours more until both of my parents end up fast asleep next to me. My mom’s head was leaning on my shoulder slightly as she gently snoozes, she looks so peaceful. I noticed a growing grey streak that had been hiding behind her auburn locks. My dad’s head is cocked back on the back of the sofa, his mouth agape as he snores loudly. His own hair had long since retreated from his scalp, but his beard noticeably peppered with wiry, white invaders, not unlike the Americas during the colonization of the ‘New World’.

 I’m tempted to head upstairs to my room and go to bed myself, but for some reason, I just can’t seem to bring myself to move. Maybe it’s the knowing that’s causing my hesitation. I know this is essentially the end of my childhood, the last few sentences on the page that brings this chapter of my life to an end.

Although it may not be all that apparent now asides from the little hints here and there, I know my parents are getting older with each passing day. They are not these timeless pillars of safety and guidance that they have been my entire life. I know that while I will always be their son, there’s not much longer that I’ll get to be their little boy.

I feel a stinging in my eyes as I think about that cruel, unrelenting passage of time. I imagine the pain of losing them, of burying them, of being alone in this cold world with no one but little Margo to accompany me, for a while anyway. I’ve always been overburdened with such dark, morbid thoughts. They have haunted me since I can remember, but now, with such an important transition underway, they are harder to ignore than usual.

They are borderline relentless.

My one way of combating the intrusive melancholy is by focusing on the here and now. To steady my breathing, as well as my mind and keep myself in the here and now.

Mom and Dad are still alive and healthy. They may be sad over the fact that their child is growing up, but they will soon be proud of what I’m able to accomplish. Plus, with the rate the economy is going, I will likely be returning home to them once my schooling is done anyways, so I won’t be away for too long.

We still have plenty of time.

As I watch yet another co-ed be massacred with a bottle opener and a can of silly string on CSI, I happen to catch a glance of the illustrious Margo as she crept from her exile on the recliner back to our feet. She took note of her sleeping humans before gracefully bounding onto my thigh with a quiet meow. I gently scratch her ear in approval, causing her to begin to purr.

I grin as the cat kneaded my denim-covered leg before settling in and curling up, her white chin resting gently on my dad’s forearm. I feel my eyes growing heavy, Margo’s gentle purring and warmth does little to quell this drowsiness. I relent and let my eyelids close a little more, then more still.

Moments like these aren’t meant to last, so it’s best to enjoy them while we are given the opportunity, they are few and far between. No need to dwell on goodbyes.

I finally fall asleep, and for the first night in a while, I have pleasant dreams. 

August 07, 2020 13:57

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Kate Le Roux
07:30 Aug 11, 2020

I really liked this. You created a tangible atmosphere in that living room, and I enjoyed the little details in amongst the emotions. (Careful not to mix up your tenses, sometimes you slip into last tense instead of present. )


S. Closson
23:56 Aug 11, 2020

Thank you for pointing that out, I will try to be more mindful of my tenses in the future. I appreciate your comment, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)


Kate Le Roux
10:07 Aug 12, 2020

Sorry, I meant past tense!!


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Raquel Rodriguez
01:32 Aug 11, 2020

I love this! The beginning and ending are great, and I can't believe nobody has commented on this story yet! Great job! Your descriptions are awesome! :)


S. Closson
23:54 Aug 11, 2020

Thank you so much for checking it out! I'm really glad you enjoyed it! :D


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Estelle Westley
09:12 Aug 13, 2020

I love the way you describe scenes. Thanks for being gentle with the parents - it made the story for me. I would appreciate if you took the time to read and comment on my M & M sory of this week.


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