It will begin the night before your last day together. If things have gone really well, the night before is when the high starts to come down, right before it’s time to go to bed and make love for what will be anywhere between the second to the last time or the last time before they get back on that plane or bus or car to travel back to wherever they live.
How to spend the last few hours together are determined by when they are scheduled to leave.
Usually, the earlier they leave, the less painful the goodbye. Maybe they bought a ticket to leave on the first flight out, thus the last few hours spent are with eyes closed, catching sleep, though most of the time one of you is up, bracing yourself for when it’s time to say goodbye. You don’t wake the other person though, not until it’s time to go. When you two are both awake, the only thing superseding the sadness of this inevitable parting of the ways is the sleepiness, because neither of you got much sleep. At some point in the night, both of you had your eyes open thinking about the person sleeping next to you as though they already left.
Sometimes, they choose to take that red-eye out or leave later in the day. This allows for some quality time on that last day together, but both of you are constantly checking your phones or watches, making sure you don’t run off schedule. Maybe you get a bite to eat, maybe you spend the morning indoors laying in bed. However spent, the hours never feel like hours, more like minutes.
Early morning or late evening, it all really doesn’t matter. The real challenge is getting through the last goodbye. When final boarding for the train or bus has been called, when the flight they’re on is getting ready to board, these are the moments we hurt the most. You two promised each other you wouldn’t cry and one of you lied because those are tears you feel on your shoulder or in your chest. And the harder you hug, the more tears come, it’s a sponge-like effect.
Oh how these moments hurt, because no matter how many movies we’ve seen where one person turns around and changes their mind, this ain’t a movie and that’s not what will happen. In real life, if we dare try to go through the security checkpoint without a boarding pass, TSA arrests us and we’re being put on a “no fly” list.
So we separate, and one of us has to turn our back to the other because walking backwards is silly. Instead, we just look over our shoulder while the one who could remain stationery looks at their love get smaller and smaller as they move further and further into the sea of other travelers. They make a left or a right, and in minutes that felt like seconds, they’re out of sight.
Whether it was a season, a week, or a weekend, this is what it feels like to say goodbye. It’s quick and swift. Do your best to make it long and memorable.