How can ‘bye’ be good? I have hated goodbyes since I was a chubby girl with unruly hair and a big appetite for ice-cream and tears. I cried hysterically every time grandparents left after a visit. I cried plenty when schools were changed every other year. That meant an addition to my list of friends whom I’d vow to keep in touch with. I had a long list.
The mere thought of leaving a loved one makes all the organs in my body sink, like I am on the world’s most dreadful roller coaster. I feel my head swoon with dizziness. Loss of perception and speech defects materialize as I stand trembling. You’d think this was a case of a brain aneurysm. But no. This is just me waiting to bid farewell.
I remember when my brother left for higher studies in Canada. My mother and I were a hysterical wreck at the airport. Thinking about it, I feel embarrassed for Baba. But that’s just the way we were. Every year my brother would visit us for the summer and after three months of a ‘family reunited’, the entire sobbing episode would replay; like an insufferable sequel of the English patient.
Coming to Canada, I thought it better to work on my goodbye-phobia. I worked on it all right. If sniffing and a sulky face throughout the flight counts. Or when my parents came to visit last year. The dreaded time arrived sooner than I’d expected and there I was looking for my biggest prescription glasses so my puffy eyes wouldn’t be too obvious. That’s how hopeless I am. A couple of days ago my mum-in-law went back to Pakistan after visiting us. The pounding head and the gulping-down-tears-so-hard-that-my-throat-hurts returned with a vengeance. It took me an entire day to go tidy up the guest room.
There is never going to be a GOOD bye for me. People are going to come and go. I will have to suck it up and brace myself. Some farewells will be sudden and catastrophic. There will be goodbyes where I won’t be able to say hello again. I will just have to make do with my incapacitated skills and a hefty tear-extinguishing device if possible. Because after all those years of creating tear-falls, my eyes can’t take it anymore. No exaggeration here because even a few seconds of tear spurting causes my eyes to swell up like a baboon’s behind. The itchiness and hammering headache that follow – well that’s another story.
In Islam, we use the words ‘Khuda-Hafiz’ of ‘Allah-Hafiz’ (may God be your guardian) in place of a goodbye. Even Goodbye essentially means the same – may God be with you. It should have remained Godby, Godby’e, Godbwye, God bwy yee or God be wi’ you; earlier versions that did justice to the true meaning. The etymology of Goodbye is flawed. You can only wish for God to protect the person leaving, but saying ‘good’ ? Seriously?
At least I can’t.
I am participating in the National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) – November 2014. This is an awesome venture of Blogher.com. In their own words:
“Every November, thousands of bloggers commit to posting daily. But it’s about much more than getting that post up—it’s about community and connection. It’s also about honing your craft, challenging yourself, and taking your blog to the next level.”
I will write every day of November. This is my eighth post.
#NaBloPoMo – Day 8