Leaving 101

I never knew my dog barked whenever I left the house. I mean, the process is pretty binary: grab my wallet, keys, kiss him goodbye, put in my earphones and be on my way. Well, something happened this morning- I forgot my earphones. It wasn’t two seconds after I’d closed the door when I heard scratching on the other side. Then came those high-pitched little shrieks. He isn’t a very big dog.

Sometimes I wonder how many people I’ve met in my life, and I mean every single person who my face could possibly be a fleeting memory to. Come to think of it, that number may well be in the thousands. Chances are that if you’re past a certain age, this applies to you too, and maybe you’ll have realized how weird it is when you think about it, when you really think about it; that the amount of people who you’d call a part of your life is absolutely dwarfed by that number.

Life is a bit of a conveyor belt. Everything comes in stages, one at a time, and eventually and unavoidably, they’re gone. Buffering between all the happiness and the health and the despair and the power, are people, forever coming and going until that belt creaks to a halt. We all know it- the inevitability of someone drifting, losing touch. We all know them- friends whom from day one you knew in the back of your mind would hold that post as a temp job. Nevertheless, you can’t really chastise them for it. It’s not selfishness. It’s not betrayal. It’s life.

Don’t act like you’re innocent to this. Maybe it’s the grade school best friend you haven’t heard from in ages. Maybe you moved cities and spoke your last words to a lot of people, despite those very words swearing they wouldn’t be. Maybe it’s that once inseparable companion you had a flashpoint with and never properly reconciled. Maybe you just realized someone isn’t good for you. Whatever it is, you’re blameless for leaving. It’s how you leave that I’m warning you about.

The problem about it is that it can seem so seamless; the sudden realization of “whoa I haven’t talked to them in a while” could come as a rude surprise. Ironic, isn’t it? How we hardly seem to notice the deprivation of what was once one of life’s constants?  See, we have a tendency to undervalue ourselves- when we think about losing someone we hold dear, we think of what it would do to us, not what it’d do to them. This is where the nonchalance comes from; the constant feeling that somebody won’t mind your drifting away lets you let go with alarming ease.

Sometimes it isn’t so seamless. It could torture you, losing a person. And, forgive me for this, but I’d bet a blank check that there’s someone in your life who the very thought of clouds your mind with a rather solemn shade of blue. It’s with these people where worlds are shaken, where scars are etched, where bridges tend to be razed to the ground. But yet again, in the midst of being lost in their loss, a second thought isn’t given to the fact that their world is shaking too. Oh, it tortures you alright, but the man with the whip isn’t the kind for preferential treatment. Don’t you for one second think you’re hurting alone, even if you are alone.

I’ll make the message here clear. Please, don’t understate the significance of a you-shaped hole in somebody else’s life. Please, before you walk away, think about what you mean to the person watching you get smaller in the distance. Please, understand that nobody isn’t worthy of proper closure. Don’t be selfish. Don’t let it end like that.

Because I honestly never knew my dog barked whenever I left the house.