Anyone who has lived in Charleston loves the bridges. (Well, save one friend who invariably would get on the wrong one and have to wait till the end to u-turn.) They always offer a grand view of the water, the marshes, and the city. I've left and come back a few times and, just like seeing the Washington Monument in the distance when I lived in DC, crossing over a bridge into the city lightens the heart. That feeling of coming home. It's hard to see that in the rear view and know you won't be returning for a long, long time.
I've been having trouble writing of late. Hell, I've been having trouble doing anything productive really. It's these incessant goodbyes. I've been hitting one after the other for the past month. Traveling is worth writing about (aka productive in my limited scope) but the time to write is always after I've left. Immediately after another goodbye.
Normally goodbyes don't bother me. I usually joke around with whoever it may be and toss in a playful "forever". My mother particularly loves it when I'm off someplace, look deep into her eyes, and say, "I love you, Mom. Goodbye. Forever." Maybe a "you were a good mother to me" for good measure. (Yes, I'm probably a horrid son. No worries, she has another.) Goodbyes always seem easy for me. Moving has never been all that far and trips never for all that long. And in this day in age, those things hardly matter. With phones, the internet, and facebook, it is incredibly easy to keep in touch. Many of my greatest--hell, closest--friends are far away, but I always, ALWAYS have the luxury of sending them a note whenever I please. I've never had difficulty keeping in touch with people as long as they want to keep in touch with me. I try to remind myself that I will have some of that in Africa too. Just not often. And certainly not whenever I please. Alas, I am greedy.
I think it is really the disconnect that I fear. Time breeds disconnect. Time is change. Only some of the people you leave behind ever stay in your life. Only some of them will write back. Only some of them you will get to see again. And all of them will change. Get married, have kids, move, get new jobs, or... anything. And you never know how that will change your relationship. Shit, two years in Africa, I'm the one who is going to be different!
Charleston feels worse. The goodbyes with family and old friends, well, at least I know they will be back. I will see them again. It's hard sure, but we've done change and time and distance and we've survived. The goodbyes with the Maybes scare me more. The ones that may be final. And Charleston… well, they are all new. That means they haven't had enough time to properly be infected with the drug that is me. To draw them unwittingly back into my net.
Note: Once addiction to said drug sets in, there is only one known cure: dating me.
And even that only has about a 50% effectiveness.