I cannot say that saying goodbye is never easy. The word escapes my lips multiple times a day without a thought to it. It’s said to friends, classmates, relatives- all without much trouble. But the word’s weight hung heavily on the last days of cherubs as I realized that goodbye this time truly meant, well, goodbye. It was one that could never be revoked, no ‘Hello, again!’s or ‘How has it been?’ or even just a ‘Hey.’ Because even though we could call or text or even drive a thousand miles to visit, we weren’t saying goodbye to each other. We were saying goodbye to cherubs. We were saying goodbye to that breeze that made a Frisbee a chore to catch but so much more fun to throw, the disk taunting your partner with quick right hooks. We were casting final glances at Hinman and its food that haunted our dreams (and not in a good way). And we were leaving behind our own Tower of Babel that let us understand each other on a deeper level than I have ever experienced before.
Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. One by one, each memory got its dues.
I spent many days after the end of the program regretting. Had I said the wrong thing? Could they understand me over my sobbing? Did I even say a word? I went over a lot of backs of heads and snapshots of shoulders, trying to remember the last moment I saw of each cherub. My dramatics confused my family and friends as I dragged myself to band camp every night and back, stepping out of time and forgetting to play music. I came home and slept or moped or looked at pictures. I said goodbye to cherubs but I was not ready to say hello to real life.