A Sense of An Ending?


Spread out in various states of recline around a long table in the inner room of the Indian restaurant we have gathered in, I imagine we cast a scene not too dissimilar to the last supper. Not only are we thirteen (ignoring for a moment that S is barely 9 months old), it is a last supper of sorts, pulled together to celebrate the two J’s, in these their final days up here before they up sticks and move to study not too far off from ground zero in America’s bible belt. That we’ve plopped for Indian cuisine is perhaps a slight oddity given all thirteen of us have African roots. I suspect it is more indicative of the paucity of suitable eating options than adventure, which is why phones come out when it is time to order; google comes to the rescue. All that drags out the ordering process, which has a knock on effect on when we get our food.

When dinner finally arrives, we break out into leisurely conversations, in which it transpires that the two J’s are not the only ones on the verge of leaving. R is off in about a month’s time, O has his feet on two continents already, A’s entrepreneurial life is very much in full flow, two other youngsters are on the cusp of going away to University, and I am one job opening away from upping sticks myself. Even those who do not have active moves planned suggest in conversation that they would consider a move outside of town, all of which feeds the sense that a lot of change is afoot, and that the group is tottering on the edge of significant change, particularly over the next few months.

With the benefit of a few days to reflect over the events and feelings of the day, I find myself wondering what about these particular set of circumstances make the sense of change deeply personal. It is not like the group has stayed the same over the past few years I have been part of it. As recently as three or so months ago there was a significant departure, which make my initial guess that it is the sheer number of moves in a relatively small time scale thatĀ  has largely engendered this feeling. Other possible reasons might be the relative importance of some of the people on the move this time, theĀ season of life I am in, or just a plain, unexplained increased sensitivity to all of this.

Change they say is inevitable but on this occasion I feel like I am being dragged kicking and screaming towards it.

What You Lose

Boy and girl separating

What you lose in the breaking,
and the leaving, and in the tearing
up of things is not the weight
of the burden of a flailing we,
unravelling as it were,
beneath the weight of the angst
the uncertainty of ambivalent inquiry weaves
in its wake.

What you gain is not peace,
or freedom, or the sense of soaring free;
a relief craved like cold water
on a blistering summer day –
a breath drawn deep, air gulped
a sigh of resignation
at the certainty of leaving.

What you leave in the un-cleaving,
is a good riddance tossed like a curse
into the wind, the silhouette of a fading back
the only linger of a memory
quickly fading into a transient thought

What you lose is the endearing quality
of a sometimes awkward silence,
of knowing, and being known
and of safely being-
and the joy and the passion
deeply feeling things brings.

What you learn, when in the lingering
haunting sound of silence you reflect,
is that what you lose is the joy of eyes
lit by quotidian things –
is laughter, and living and loving;
and hope for hoping against hope
for a thousand smiling summers.

NaPoWriMo Day 26 – The Leaving

train 2

For Mag 267

You and I
are sweeping up
the shards of something
blithely broken,
something shattered
into a thousand
jagged things,
by this weight,
this unshifting
burden of this we,
we nearly were.

There is leaving,
and then this,
Leaving, headed west,
chasing closure,
across the valley,
beyond which
there is no returning.