Living life with no regrets is a powerful thing. It makes life fun and free. However, with the highest highs come some powerful lows, and today is one of those times. Kim and I have a friend, who over the past few years has really become family. She lived a mile from our home, and would frequently be an unexpected, but always welcome guest. There were trivia nights at the bar, sushi expeditions, and even the occasional “accidentally drunk” evening. The dynamic among the three of us was amazing, as though we had always known each other. Our respective families became families, and the bond that we formed together will never be broken. Our times together were, and are, amazing. So a funny thing happened a few weeks ago…
The search for a new job led our friend on some interviews, and those interviews became offers. Before long an offer became acceptance, and acceptance brought with it reality. Our time together was drawing to a rapid close. Now, we knew New Jersey was not where she was going to plant roots, but we were hopeful. As it turns out, change was in the air. Big change. Like, other side of the country change. Her new job would take her to California, pretty much as far away as she could get (with no disrespect to Hawaii and Alaska). Kim didn’t want to talk about it. Ever. She pushed that reality off as hard as she could, because pain is not something we readily embrace. I felt it too, but dove right into talking about it with our friend, while Kim worked through her feelings. As the weeks grew shorter, reality started sinking in. Apartment hunting, clearing out her New Jersey apartment and countless dinners with friends and family to say goodbye. Two weeks of training in California, then a brief trip back for the last hurrah. That was this week. Today was the day.
We met her and her boyfriend near the airport where he parked for the weekend. They have a wedding to attend in Cincinnati so he’ll be back, while she will continue onto her new adventure. The drive to the airport was quick, the chatter lively. Parked and in the terminal we approached security. This was it. The moment Kim wanted to push off was here, and staring her in the face through the eyes of our friend. It was hug time, and cue the water works. I amusingly mentioned to Jason (our friend’s boyfriend) that they were going to miss their flight, because once one is locked in a Kim embrace, there was no getting out until she released you. Much to my surprise she released, but the tears continued. I went in for the hug with our friend and smiled, and made her say goodbye while looking me in the eye, because she too had to cry if Kim was crying. It worked! With an arm around Kim we watched as they walked toward security, down the terminal and out of sight. Our dynamic, though unbreakable, changed.
No more random stopovers at the house. No more impromptu happy hours. No more mailing it in when cooking Indian food (that’s a story for another day). We’ll see her again, several trips are already booked, but it’s different. Her presence, her energy, is going to be over two thousand miles away. That’s hard.
As we walked to the car, I commented to Kim, “we need to find some new fucking friends.” Tears became laughter, as I followed with the question, “too soon?” A few text messages between the four of us pre-flight and it was back to our day to day.
None of us have any regrets about the time we spent together. We were and continue to be family. We laughed hard, we lived life to the fullest together. The tears and the sadness are not of regret, but of the deep sense that this chapter ended around 11am in Terminal B at Newark Airport. We all saw it coming, but it doesn’t hit you until it’s happening. That’s the low of living life with no regrets. You never want it to end, and when one chapter does, those tears are the great memories rushing back all at once, and that’s overwhelming.
So travel well Maya. We love you, and we’ll miss you, but we WILL see you soon. Good luck, keep in touch, and stay Fat, Drunk and Fancy.