My life has been a long ‘Goodbye.’ I’ve moved 15 times in the last 27 years. I’ve met people who still change my life today and I’ve met people who say I changed their lives. “Goodbye” is not a sad word to me, especially with the technology available to everyone now. However, your first home will never get on the internet to let you know how it’s doing. On May 21, 2012, I had an incredibly difficult goodbye.
I spent the previous week saying goodbye to a number of important people in my life and rejoicing in their lives continuing on exciting journeys while I did the same. My brother graduated high school. My best friend, who I thought was a man-hater, informed me she was getting married. My mom started a promising new job. S, Callie, and I were moving to Alaska. Everyone was beginning their adventures. But as S and I were looking forward to starting such a monumental chapter in our marriage, we still needed to close out the previous chapter, and that meant saying goodbye to our first home together– and the first place I had ever rented on my own.
S and I were coworkers when we first met at Fort Knox, KY. His life-long friends hit the nail on the head when they described me as “the female version” of him. Though we are similar, we also somehow manage to have the strengths for the other’s weaknesses and complete the puzzle for each another. He was a dear friend way back in May 2010 when I was promoted to E-5 SGT (Sergeant) in the US Army. I had never lived on my own. I finally had the opportunity to move out of barracks and into my own place and I wasn’t about to wait a second more. S went along for the ride to look for apartments with me and ended up helping me understand what to look for to decide on the best place. When we walked into Apartment #11 in Muldraugh, KY, I said, “I think this is the one.” He said, “Yeah, not bad for your first place.” Five months later we had realized our love for one another, we traded dog tags (instead of rings), and he was moving in. It was our first home together.
The apartment was pre-furnished (with furniture and other things I don’t want to think about, I’m sure), had the smallest kitchen imaginable, and a window AC unit that cooled down the bedroom too much and not the rest of the apartment at all. It was right next to an outdoor car wash, next to a main highway, behind an elementary school with a basketball court, and– most importantly– a block away from Dodge’s Chicken and Gas Station. It was perfect. Dodge’s being down the road made it heaven. Dodge’s is a normal locally-owned gas station but they also make their own fried…everything. Fried chicken, fried potatoes, even fried corn. When you’re up late at night rambling about the mysteries of the universe with your best friend and significant other, there is nothing better than to look up and see the Dodge’s Chicken sign lighting up your window and know you are safe from starvation forever. When you wake up late and know you’re going to be starting your day out doing 100 push ups if you don’t get to work in 10 minutes flat but your gas tank is empty, there is nothing better than to look up and see the Dodge’s Chicken sign like a shining beacon of hope toward no muscle failure. Saying “Goodbye” to all our memories in our first home and to Dodge’s Chicken was a rough day. Having S close the door and walk down the stairs with me while I held Callie and we all left together on our new adventure made it much less rough, however.
What’s the toughest “Goodbye” you’ve ever had?