When my life rocked sideways during a time of loss, a friend I once considered a sister came to stay with me. She was only with me for twenty-four hours before we went our separate ways, but by the end of that time, something beautifully ashen transpired. We could feel it the moment she walked back into my life, but it wasn’t palpable until the end.
It was in the goodbye.
When I hugged her goodbye, it felt like I was letting go party of my childhood. I felt the angst of my teenage years, the pain and awkwardness as I passed through so many milestones. There was wonder and excitement at finding myself, testing my personality and finding that self actualization. It was all there within our embrace. A tangible energy I could feel gathering between us began to slowly fade away. Like I was releasing a part of me that I had outgrown and moved beyond. Not because it was immature or some underdeveloped piece of me. It was as if this piece of myself allowed me to become the person I am today, completed its mission, and was ready to be released.
The seconds it took to release the hold around her tiny frame were the most drawn out moments in my life. Everything that had once built me up disapated as her arms unwound around me. All of the years I had spent trying to find the person I wanted to be evaporated like a summer rain from the forefront of my mind, finding their place within my mind’s archive. I could feel it slipping from me, all that time spent angry and confused, fumbling and jubilated as I made my way through the day to day.
It wasn’t being thrown away or stuffed into the attic, never to be thought of again. No, it became the diploma hanging on the wall, or the photos you frame to never forget a memory. It became a dormant piece to my life puzzle, the outer frame of my past, but no longer what constituted my center, present day me. It became the footprints in the sand behind me, the path that led me here, but no longer the dominant pieces of me.
As she looked at me, possibly for the very last time, I could see it in her eyes, too. She felt it. The pillars in our lives shifting. We smiled and said one last goodbye. She looked over her shoulder at me, and for the first time in my life, I felt renewed. I had finally released my past and became the full realized person I had fought so hard to be.
She helped me get to this point. I will always love her for that. I will never forget or regret my past. It was the only way to get to where I am today. I look upon it now, hanging on the wall in my mind’s gallery of memories and smile, thankful for it all and overwhelmed by the journey.
I’m not who I was. I’ve grown and become someone I had always hoped I would be. I have a longer road ahead of me to become even more, but to the road I have left behind, its been a beautiful ride.