Monday, May 5, 2008

Allegro: Farewells

I thought I had reading and finals weeks scheduled perfectly. Hours of studying punctuated by meals with friends and occasional daydreaming in the Sterling Memorial Library courtyard, daily packing of some luggage as I take my finals.

The problem is, one meal is not enough.

Scenario: We meet. Surprisingly, we both arrive on time, not on Yale time. At salad, we'd start to remember random, recent memories of us together. At roast chicken or some New Haven-fied Lo Mein, we move further into the past, reflecting on how we first met and ridiculous first impressions. At dessert, we're so deep into memories we hardly have to time to say goodbye. Hastily, we promise each other to meet at the next Harvard-Yale tailgate, or that he/she'd visit me while I'm abroad. After a handshake or a hug, we each take what farewells and wishes we can offer and walk away.

Half an hour into my physics and environmental politics notes, a text vibrates my cell phone. The friend wants to meet for coffee before I leave.

Honestly, I don't know when I'll get the chance to meet all the juniors and seniors I've grown close to since my freshman year. All I have is a one-way ticket to Beijing, return date unknown.

Maybe I'm overexaggerating.

I find adopting Athabaskan language near the conclusion of every year useful. Athabaskan is a language spoken by Natie American tribes in parts of Canada, Alaska, Oregon and California. After most conversations, closing remarks are exchanged with a final "goodbye." Athabaskans, however, feel no obligation to say "goodbye," or any closing remark. In fact, Athabaskan languages have no word that means "goodbye."
Mary TallMountain is more eloquent than I am to express my thoughts:

What do you say in Athabaskan
when you leave each other?
What is the word
for goodbye?...
We always think you're coming back,
but if you don't,
we'll see you some place else.
You understand.
There is no word for goodbye.


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3 Comments:

Lucky said...

aw, let it not be allegro.
let it be slow

Jing said...

去年我离开北京时,飞机起飞前几个小时才告诉我的同学们我要去美国了。我的朋友很惊讶,她们都哭了。可是,我不喜欢用一两个月的时间让自己和别人难过。我宁可不提前告诉她们,然后,突然微笑说再见。

人生总是如此。若要前行,就要离开现在停留的地方。

take care.

-李静

Jing said...

No.你没有pay attention to the last line: "Thank God this is the last week."我还在耶鲁。

你这么期待我从耶鲁离开? :) 我离开美国比你晚。

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