Goodbye Withdrawal

by Nic Olson

I am a man of many goodbyes. I see the importance in saying goodbye so I seem to make a subconscious effort to do it two or three times in each place I am at. I do that by flaking on ‘set itineraries’ and staying in town for several days longer than ‘planned’. This has occurred more than once in the past few months. And it re-happened this past week. Any psychologist or half-observant friend would cite this to a difficulty with commitment. My problem with committing to noncommittal visits. Before arrival I knew Vancouver would be difficult to leave but didn’t think I would be broken so easily. I thought I had honed my ability to say goodbye without a second thought thanks to the last three months of weekly practice. The one-week-in, one-week-out life of an oil-rigger, a diamond miner or a bus rider allows for attachment that isn’t concrete but still real enough so that goodbyes are like letting go of a limb or a really nice ottoman. I should’ve stuck with the one night stand.

Before I left, I awoke from my nightly unconsciousness with a story ringing in my head. The story included myself forgetting bags and missing buses and purposefully enjoying myself sliding down steep city hills instead of deciding to get to my next point of transit. A dream of the difficulties of leaving. Two days later, in real life, I failed to leave. Whether it was fear of the forty-two hour trip on the Godhound, or fear of what was on the other side of settling, or fear of leaving the city with the most friends I’ve had in years, I was easily convinced to stay in bed. Two days before, my subconscious mind knew it would happen, and so did those in Yellowknife.

So far the reuniting hellos have been more enjoyable than the woe of the separating goodbyes, so the trip still makes sense. When the depression of departure is greater than than the joys of arrival, then it no longer makes sense. The gap has been closing.

Soon I will set my clock to the place where the clock never changes; with Central Standard Time as our reference we’ll have to see what happens a week and a half in. I will undoubtedly go through a raging case of ‘Goodbye Withdrawal’. If I seem distant and withdrawn, more than usual, just say goodbye to me and give me a hug, and it will probably feel just right.

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