when i dropped michael off at the airport for the last time, last october, i burst into tears driving out of the airport. there is something about goodbyes that cuts me to my very heart. perhaps it has something to do with being raised on les miserables and fantine saying goodbye to her dreams and her daughter forever, then jean valjean on his deathbed saying goodbye to his daughter, and the music that wraps itself around your heart and squeezes.
maybe for those reasons i don't do well with goodbyes. i cry, and if i am composed enough to keep it inside for the actual moment of goodbye, you can bet i'm full of tears on the inside.
so today was a rough day.
i had to say goodbye to some of the most amazing people i have known. they're only 17, and already they're these miracles of people.
today i signed a million yearbooks and smiled and said, "see you later!" to hundreds of people, knowing full well that i probably won't be seeing them again. but you know, when you say goodbye to someone, it isn't so much the fear of never seeing them again that hurts. rather, it's that there is this someone who you've grown used to having in your life. someone you've come to look forward to seeing, to knowing how they are, to just having their "ness" (whatever it is that makes them who they are) next to your "ness". that is why i cried when michael left. that is why i cried today after school. because now i am one-hundred and seventy-two "ness"es short.
not to mention that my teaching shoes--the ones with the softest fur ever on the inside, the ones that go with every outfit, the ones i've worn pretty much everyday for the last year and a half--yeah those--they finally bit the dust. as i'm walking out to my car on the last day. what luck!
i will miss this world-class high school. i will miss my students, i will miss my teaching friends, i will miss my brilliant TA, i will miss all the inbetween-class chats. i'll miss the comments and the plagiarized essays and the blatant sucking-up and the moments of creative genius and all the hundreds of times we laughed and laughed.
to those of you who made this year one of the most meaningful of my life: thank you.
memories of you will be making me happy for years to come.