My brother is leaving LA and moving (back) to Chicago. I’m happy for him, because it feel like a change, and it feels he’s been looking for a change, but I’m also sad because he will be gone. Although we are certainly different in many ways, in other ways, of my siblings, we have the most in common in terms of sensibility, and so in some ways he is the closest person I have to myself.
If they are not sudden, partings have a chronology. At first one in aware of the upcoming parting but it is far away. You will see the person a dozen more times: the thrumming drum of the parting is muffled by all the times that stand between any of those times and the last time. A dozen times becomes several times, several times become a couple of times… and finally it is the last time–the time after which the person will get in a car or on a plane, or some metaphorical boat to the underworld and go someplace different and far away.
And the last time, the awareness of it being the last time floats and lands, floats and lands through your time together. You think “this is the last time,” and then for a few moments you forget it is the last time, and then you remember and think, “this is the last time.”
In thinking of this and being sad, I am also being over-dramatic, because Chicago is hardly the ends of the earth my brother and I will certainly see each other a few times a year. It’s not like saying goodbye to our friends in Australia almost a decade ago, or like saying goodbye to my father the last time before he died. But I think maybe all the big goodbyes in my life have sensitized me to the smaller ones as well, like stubbing the toe that’s been broken. If I let myself remember, the small goodbyes are just rehearsals for the biggest goodbyes. In every case, with no exceptions, the big goodbye is out there, a gong echoing and reverberating through the years of padding between then and now, saying “I am here.”
Yeah–that’s weird metaphor juxtaposed with other questionable metaphor, but hey, I’m writing sad–because I’ll see my brother on Sunday, and it will be the last time I see my brother before he moves away.