It’s been a week. That’s right: seven days. Seven blips.
That’s nothing… I have over six months to wait. Why is it hard this time?
My best friend deployed. We’ve done this before; multiple times. He’s gone to multiple other places far away and distant.
Why now, though, I think… as I sit here stupidly staring at the other spot on the couch imagining him sitting there like he did last weekend.
I can see him there, shit-grinning as I am yelling my disgust for Greg Hardy to the television.
He’s smiling, and I just look at him and spew, “If I hear another thing about Greg Hardy deserving a second chance I’m going to be sick.”
“I know you will. Did you see what Katie Nolan did about it?” he says to me. Next thing I know I’m watching Katie Nolan go off on Greg Hardy. She’s going straight after him like every other announcer in football and in the sports realm should be.
I feel the same way as Nolan. But that’s not really the point. He gets that Nolan’s view would comfort me. He gets my crazed brain. He gets me.
My best friend understands that I need caffeine before anything. He understands that when we do morning errands or day activities I need coffee. And he’s the same.
His coffee order: medium, iced, just cream.
I don’t know anyone else’s coffee order but my own. His became as routine as mine though.
“Caffeine?” was quickly shot out in a text every time before I would head out to see him. Although, I already knew the answer.
The week leading up to deployment we spent as much time together as possible. I made him watch every football game from college to NFL and Sportscenter we could stomach.
We stayed up as late as I could possibly stand after long work days of over 11 hours. I even pulled an all nighter, which I hadn’t really successfully done since my first year of college.
This goodbye wasn’t easy. Something in me felt wrong. I sat there on his couch and things started to fall apart.
My eyes filled, my nose leaked, I was sobbing. Not the good or the pretty kind—the shaking kind. But why…? I’m not a crier. This is not how I express myself.
Why was this happening? Was my body revolting? I was being taking over, and all I could do was succumb to the sobs.
“Uhh you good bruhh?” I heard from the other end of the couch.
Was I good? I certainly didn’t feel good. I would have bet my car and all of my skis that I didn’t look good either.
“I don’t know,” I muffled. “I’m sad.” At this point I was fettle-position curled around a pillow, hugging it like it was my only source of air. If I were to let my death-squeeze of the pillow go, I would go with it.
“I don’t want you to go,” I managed out.
There, right there, I sounded like a little child. My own selfish thoughts washing over me. I don’t want you to leave again.
College has prepared me for goodbyes. I have grown accustomed to them. Every time I go home, I give my dogs a tearful goodbye, kissing them, wrapping them up and saying I’ll see them next Christmas.
I hug my parents and even wake up my little brother to wrangle a hug and goodbye from him. I have to say goodbye to my very best friend since kindergarten every time.
But I’ve gotten so good at goodbyes. I say goodbyes with a smile and cheeriness even at 6 a.m. on a dark and gloomy January morning.
This was different. I was failing at this goodbye. I was utterly lost.
I was doing worse than when my father dropped all my belongings off in my dorm room in Behnken Hall, hugged me goodbye and said he had to catch a flight back to New Hampshire—that he’d see me at Christmas. Leaving me alone in a city and state I had visited and been a tourist in only twice before that.
But this was different. I was sad. Actually sad. I hadn’t known sadness like this for the longest time. And I didn’t know what to do.
Tears happened. That was one of the only times he has seen me cry, and I think that made it worse. My hurting made his hurting hurt more.
I sat there in my mess of tears and snot and thought, “How did I get here? What did I do to deserve to get a best friend that I care about so much?”
I am grateful for the shitty, gut-wrenching goodbye. It’s still with me as I ponder what I could’ve done better over a week later.
Sitting here reflecting, I am lucky. I am so damn lucky that I have been able to have someone so deeply important to me for over seven years now.
I am lucky to have someone that it is so hard to say goodbye to. That’s how you know that it is a real and genuine relationship.
I guess what I was trying to say with my sobs is that, best friend, I’m going to miss you. And I do. I miss you—especially every Sunday.