A memory of goodbye

I learned as a child that happy moments are fragile. I taught myself to hold onto moments, single memories, all a million images now cluttered in my mind. Because people left and most often didn’t return, for they started a new life in America, time became an obsession. Time became so significant that the present almost vanished, it was only now the future I feared, the future without the people I loved, the future where I had to fill in their emptiness.
When my siblings and I reunited after a few years in Turkey, we spent two weeks together in Istanbul, in a cozy rental apartment. The place was in a good location, and we had a kitchen to ourselves as well. My Mom and grandmother took turns cooking, and it felt like we were back in Tehran. But we all knew that after two weeks my siblings would return to Tehran, my sister wishing she didn’t have to, my brother still undecided about America. We knew that my parents and I would return to the States, and I knew that I had a short time to be happy.
What I remember is that we drank a lot of tea, ate a lot of ice cream, for it was summer, and took as many photos as possible. We were tourists, so we learned the ways, took cabs, visited important places, and loved the beauty and scenery of Istanbul. And every evening, when the sun began to set, and the Azan (the religious chanting) from the mosque played from the loud speakers, a sadness took over me that I will never forget. It is that nostalgic sense that the day is over, and time once again betrayed me, reminding me I cannot hold on to it, that I have no control over how it moves, how it gives me less time to spend with my family.
But we had many laughs during our tea time. We loved that we could choose amongst the many flavors, like apple and cherry. We laughed because we always do when we get together, and with the difference in age, and the different generations there are a handful of jokes and memories to recount. My grandmother is especially fond of story telling, and occasionally she will surprise us with a humorous story, or even a dirty joke.
The two weeks were over, and my siblings had a flight a day before my parents and me. That night was one of my worse nights, for the apartment felt so empty, so dark, so sad and I couldn’t bare it. I cried, and upset my parents with my angry mood and my constant crying. I almost forgot that night, but now that I began writing I am remembering how much it hurt. That night changed the trip, and I couldn’t let go even after all the mental preparation, even after knowing all along that it was just a trip, and trips always end.
I always became angry after goodbyes. It was not in my hand, no part of my life felt like it was controllable. And the only thing I wanted was to not have to say goodbye so often, so many times. And yet they continue to be part of my life, they continue to hurt, and the amount of pain it causes me continues to baffle my mother, who has had the unprecedented ability to let go so strongly that I will forever envy her.

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