It happened today.
Last night I conked out and when I woke up, he was telling me it was time to go. I helped carry boxes, and on the last trip, I heard parts inside whisper goodbye to all of it.
« Goodbye house. »
(Turn off the light when you go… and I did. Even though I was holding a big unwieldy box that Eli insisted was heavy. It wasn’t heavy. Remember when we planted trees at Shelby farms and I made fun of him for having little upper body strength? I think it was like that. But I ain’t tell him that cause it didn’t matter.)
(A bird built a nest inside the fire extinguisher on the wall across Eli’s door. I kept looking for new occupants but no one moved in.)
“Goodbye Eli’s window,”
(This is the last time walking past it. It didn’t feel like the last time, so I didn’t really understand the significance behind it. Even when he packed, the room looked the same as it did before- almost like he didn’t have to go. )
(Hey. It wasn’t. It’s just the last Carpenter window. There gonna be other windows one year.)
“Goodbye stairstep 3.”
”Goodbye parky- lot and Tiger Paw East…”
(I might come back. But Eli won’t be there so do I care? No.)
”Goodbye lights that light up the road.”
(Eli walked ahead of us for this part. He made the lights come on.)
”Goodbye green tree. Goodbye red tree,” to the bright green bush and red ginkgo outside the laundry building. We rounded the corner.
Thé orange bumper that prevented my parking tag-less self from parking closer to Eli’s home had been vandales, and large black letters read, “OLE MISS.”
“Goodbye. Goodbye to all of it.”
At the airport, I found a Meditation Room after Eli dropped off his bag at the loading zone. I just turned around and there was a brown door with a glass center and a round brown handle. I twisted the handle and froze- and the door swung open. We left it dark inside.
Four pews, all facing a black wall, in a room about 1/8th the size of the bonus room I’m in now. We took the farthest bench.
He sprawled across me and we just talked. We whispered; I guess we didn’t get a huge chance to at home because he was packing and I was asleep. I talked about how he was gonna be so happy- he will start school again in a couple of weeks. He’s going to go see his dance team, and I’m sure they miss him very much.
He whispered back that he wanted me to keep on writing. And he didn’t want me gone. That’s what I remember. I don’t know why I let him go, but I kept my eye on time. I don’t know how long we were in there. Maybe an hour, but I knew it was my job. I patted his arm the closer it got to 5:15, even though the airport was mostly staff at the security gates.
”It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay, ” is what I tried to sing when I held onto his back and started walking towards the security gate.
It’s just that all I meant was, “Maybe it’ll be alright if I send you away, just for a little while. It’s okay to go back to Germany. It’s okay. It’ll be okay.”
He dropped his suitcase while he was rolling it out. Maybe the universe didn’t really want him gone either. (Maybe one day he’ll fly over with his dance crew to go to Harry Potter world and I’ll drive down and be a surprise. Maybe we’ll hold hands in line.
That hurt our chests to think about. What do you call, “grieving the loss of what could have hoped to be?”
We stood in line for so long. His glasses got caught in my earrings and my nose piercings. I thought it was a bad sign at first but- I remember one night recently when everytine he moved in bed, he bonked me, even when he was trying to get completely still. I thought it was funny then snd maybe that means it’s funny sad now.
When we took Luke- everyone left first. Then we decided to go a round on the escalator to make ourselves feel better, but he was still at security. So I yelled, “BYE LUKE, WE LOVE YOU!” I was the last one on the escalator on the second victory loop. I remember his hard ig is to leave and to go at the same time. And he didn’t even want to do either. I didn’t take my eyes off him, and he looked back at me. I think he was looking for Ben, but maybe he was just looking for all of us. He was trying not to cry. I know it. Luke, I’m sorry my face is the last thing you had to see.
When my parents dropped me off at the airport to go to college, I never understood why they sat outside and waited for me to go through security. I never really looked back. I just caught glances of them through the side of my eye. When Eli and I T-posed for distance, I walked to a pillar and waited for him to get through security. The guards had been looking at us for so long. We were just hugging and I held back the tears and he cried.
I’m glad I stayed because when he made it through, he turned around and stuck his tongue out and flashed me a peace sign and then I didn’t see him for a while. So I turned around. And I got on the escalator and I turned back but I really only saw security guards. I know they’ve seen the same scene a thousand times, so I think they were really just looking at my banana sock and shorts combo.
I know what it’s like to sit on an airplane. You wore your bowl sweater. Green backpack by your feet. And you were asleep by the time the sun started coming up.