Goodbye – Because I Love You | Teen Ink

Goodbye – Because I Love You

November 9, 2007
By Naseem Jamnia BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
Naseem Jamnia BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

'Yet again… he was gone.'
He stared out of the never-ending stretch of windows. An announcement crackled overhead. He was briefly interested, but when it was not his flight number that was announced, he turned back to staring. He pressed his hands to the glass, breath misting the sight of the plain concrete and giant jets at their ports.

A sense of longing, loss and loneliness gripped him. He was leaving after all.
'He’d come into my life often enough. At times I’d have him by my side; at others, he’d slip just past my grasp. I’d never know when he was mine, or when we would not be friends. It changed often enough.

He was a strange child.'
He sighed, placing his forehead on the cool glass. It soothed him, helped reduce the throbbing headache that threatened to make his head explode.

'Kami-sama,' he thought, 'I’m tired.' He yawned and closed his eyes, trying to find peace in the chaos around him. The trick worked often enough; in crowed places, solitude because easy due to the fact that one faded out of perception, out of reality. The noise would blend into the mind, and relaxation would be attained.

Now, as everyone else milled about, voices crowding around him, the stench of food filling his nostrils, the growing heat as more and more people walked by, he was unable to find peace. Every detail pressed upon him until it choked him. He felt as if he were about to suffocate.

Swiftly, he turned from the window and dashed to the nearest bathroom. A few men were in the cubicles – but one was empty. He went inside, and waited until everyone left.
'He had always been a private person. There was no doubt to it – in the years that I had known him, I had never gleamed more than a glimpse of his face. But once I gained his trust – then he started to talk. And my, what a story he had to tell.

I’d never expected that he had gone through such a thing. It seemed almost inconceivable. But he had – he showed me the scars, and besides, anyone looking into those deep blue eyes knew that he wasn’t lying.

He wasn’t the lying type anyway.'
The noise around him finally faded. He stepped out of the stall and walked swiftly to the door, glancing around to confirm no one else was in the room. He checked the door for locks – and breathed a sigh of relief when it stared him straight in the face. He bolted it, wanting peace and quiet.

The outside world gradually dimmed, becoming a buzz, as his sense of time and reality slowed and skewed. He pressed his head against the door and closed his eyes, repeating the motion he had done moments before. After a few seconds he opened his eyes and turned towards his left, where the mirrors were. He did not blink when he saw his reflection, nor did he flinch. Calmly, he walked up to it and examined it closer, as if a strange piece of art.

What greeted his sight was a pale boy – tall, and handsome, with raven black hair and bangs falling into his tired, slanted eyes. The bags under them had grown deeper, he noted without might care. He held up his hands and pressed his palms to the mirror, leaning forwards, watching as the muscles in his bread shoulders bunched up, easily supporting his lean yet muscular frame. His thin, spider-like fingers were spread-eagled on the glass. He watched his veins curiously before looking upon the slender fingers, so adept for writing and typing, to the nails, perfectly manicured, and, at last, to the single ring he wore on his left hand.

He had not seen the one who had given him the ring in a long time.
'He was extremely intelligent and perceptive. He understood things beyond our teacher’s comprehension, and knew things without ever haven been told. This hidden insight was often the source of jealous with our classmates – but he didn’t care. He never cared what people said about him. He was just… there. Sitting in the back of class, answering the questions of teachers before they were even asked, finishing tests minutes after they had been passed out.

Yes, many people were jealous, thinking him an arrogant asshole. But no. He was nothing of the sort. He was… himself. And he let no one see who he was.

Except me. And I got lucky.'
He dropped his hands and turned around. He didn’t want to look at his own reflection any longer. To the average human being, it seemed that he was nothing more than an attractive male, relatively well off by the state of his clothes and probably intelligent from the look in his eyes. If so, perhaps he was a bit cocky as well.

But his reflection revealed so much more. If only one would look beyond.

Only one person had dared to look beyond the cool surface. And he would never see that person again.

He walked towards the door, unlocked it, and let the chaos consume him.
'I’ll never forget the day we started talking. It was one of those moments that stay with you forever.

It was warm and sunny outside, a classic spring day. It was lunchtime; we were free to go outside and do as we wished for the next hour or so. My friends and I walked outside, deciding not to remain in on such a nice day. And I saw him.

He was by a cherry tree, lying down, pure face listen upwards towards the heavens. His eyes were closed as far as I could see. I had never seen him so… relaxed. Peaceful. He was always either arguing with one of my idiotic classmates or sitting in the classroom quietly, doing work. I’d only talked to him on a couple of occasions – mainly to ask him to explain something I didn’t understand. Everyone called him the Almighty Prick of the Year, but he had always been rather helpful and courteous to me.

My awareness of those around me faded into nothingness as I watched him, the leaves shading some of his face, arm thrown across his forehead. One leg was bent upward, the other lying straight out. He looked like an angel who had decided to rest as the sun kissed his brow and his raven hair fell into his handsome face.

I heard my name; dimly, I remember answering before walking over to him. I stood for a moment, staring down at his serene form, unable to move. After a minute he opened his eyes and squinted at me. Without moving he said, “Your bag looks heavy.”

I was aware that I was dropping it, but nothing else. After a few moments my knees connected with solid ground, and I knew I was kneeling.

I sat there silently staring at him. He appraised me coolly from his position until finally sitting up and turning around. Our eyes met and locked before I blurted, “Kami-sama! Your eyes are so blue! Oh they’re gorgeous!”

A flicker of astonished surprised crossed onto his face, and once again it was blank. I blushed, realizing what I had just said. “I’ve been told that, thank you.”

His eyes were a deep, sapphire hue. They sparkled in a hidden, subtle light, like the one that danced on his face as we sat there. They were cold and calculating, intelligent, always aware – but there were hiding a sensitive and emotionally-weary soul. He had seen much and grown up too quickly.

“You look like an angel,” he said quietly.'
He closed his eyes as all around him people swarmed. The noise buzzed distantly into his ears. Opening his eyes, he looked around him and walked to an empty seat. He sat down and put his head in his hands in meditation. Vaguely, he heard his flight number being called. It would be time to go soon.

But… he didn’t want to. Not yet. Not before he said goodbye.
'I stared at him, his words slowly registering in my hazy mind. “What?” I said dumbly. All I was aware of was my pounding heartbeat, shallow breath, and his deep, deep eyes.

“The light,” he offered lamely. He brought up his hand, hesitated, and gently brushed back some of my hair. “The way it illuminates you – it’s like you’re glowing.”

I stared at him, mouth agape, watching his downcast eyes as they avoided my gaze. I couldn’t find words to say, so I was content to sit there.

Quite suddenly he drew back, leaning against the tree, and looked away. “What do you want from me anyway?” he asked coldly, looking in the opposite direction.

I dimly recollect reaching out and touching his hand. It was ice cold. “I want to understand,” I said simply. “Every day we go through our lives, pointlessly wandering, looking for the ‘long delayed by always expected something that we live for.’ But what is it? What gives us the will to carry on when there’s nothing holding us back from plummeting to our thoughts, fears, our inevitable death?”

He glanced at me sharply. “Philosophical.”

“Can you deny its truth? Life has so pointless – every day we get up, go through the same routine, and come back home again. We go to school to get a good education to get a good job; we want a good job to make money and be comfortable. So what’s the point? We end up dying in the end anyway – and even that’s a repeat. Religious beliefs dictate that we go back to where we started, back to whatever God exists. But no one can remember life before birth, and no one can come back to tell us life after death. So… why do we do it? Why struggle to survive when we’ll all just die anyway?”

He looked at me for a moment before saying, “So we can trump the system while we are alive. So we can die with dignity and be able to say that the fight was worthwhile. To make the lives of others easier – those who truly suffer in life and who beg for death. To prove to the world – and to ourselves – that we aren’t some inconsequential part of the Great Machine after all. We aren’t just the cogs, but the levers and pulleys – and maybe even the operators themselves.”

I met his gaze and smiled.'
He had to say goodbye. There was no other way. Otherwise… everything would have been for naught.

He had learned so much every since he became friends with her. Within moments of her sitting down at that cherry tree, he had discovered so much of life that he had been missing. He had realized so many things that had been hidden to him, that he had been searching to find.

He stood up and walked to the nearest payphone. It was empty, so he stepped inside the cubicle. Pulling out some change from his pocket, he deposited it and then paused. He closed his eyes and placed his forehead against the box.

It was not easy. He had sworn to give up his past when he left. But, by doing this… he wouldn’t be giving her up, he’d be destroying a part of himself that he had fought to hard to preserve and understand. In the past, he had been afraid of their relationship, and would try to distance himself from it while trying to keep and comprehend it. But he would realize that he couldn’t live without her, and came back every time. But now… by doing this, he’d never have her back.

It would be impossible.
'We became extremely close, after that first meeting. However, our relationship was an odd one; after revealing a deep part of himself to me, he’d shut himself off, disappear for a while. Sometimes he’d fly elsewhere for a while, sometimes he’d continue his same routine except he’d ignore me. But I was patient. I knew him. He was discovering himself by talking to me.

So as much as it hurt, I would let him go all those times. I knew that he would calm down and return. I had no worries.

And so when he told me that he needed a break, needed to go find himself, forget the past – I believed that when he came back from his venture we’d be as close as ever. Whether he literally left or not – I had no fear that our friendship would remain intact.

Shows how much I knew.'
He dialed the number. It took him all of his courage, and despite the enormity of his task, he prayed she would not pick up.

He let go of the breath he was holding when her answering machine came up. He was about to hang up – when he stopped himself.

No. He couldn’t leave without any sort of massage. He couldn’t spring such a thing on her. Ever if she didn’t get it before he left – he had to do it. He had to let her know how hard it was for him to leave, what their relationship had meant to him.

But what would he say?

Her voice, which had pained him to hear, cut off as an automated one took its place.

He waited for the tone.
'My phone rang. I was in another room and by the time I got to it I had missed the call. It was a number I didn’t know. Confused, I was about to call back when my phone beeped, alerting me that there was a voice message.

I pressed a button and held the phone to my ear.

I could never have prepared for what I heard, even if I had known it was coming.'
When the beep came, he opened his mouth and the words he had searched for came to him.

“I love you,” he blurted. “Goodbye – because I love you.” And he hung up.

He never knew what to think of the moment afterwards.
'His voice was a familiar one, and it warmed my heart to hear it. I had not spoken with him all summer, and it was nearing the end of it. He had asked for a break at the end of the school year, and, disappointedly, I had consented.

The message was over before I had caught his words, so I replayed it.

It was then that I heard the words that would haunt me for the rest of my life.

“I love you,” his voice told me simply. “Goodbye – because I love you.”

I stared, mouth opened, the words not quite sinking in.

My family found me in the same position hours afterward.

It wouldn’t be until years later that I would understand just why he did what he did, and what he went through while doing it.'
He looked out the window. The city was growing smaller and smaller as the altitude of the plan grew. Colours – reds, brows, greens, yellows, blues, grays – jumped out at him, but it did nothing for his mood.

The hardest part was done, yet he felt emptier than before.

There were no more connections to the past. No friends, no family – just him. The one thing – person – that had been holding him back had just been taken care of. He was free of his history at last.

But then why did he feel more lost than he had before?

She had been at his side for so long… it was hard to believe that he had just cut her off for good. There was no more steeling himself for seeing her again, no more desire for her smile, no more going back to her after a time of seclusion.

He played with the ring she had given him for his birthday. In it was sketched the words, “Mery-i, be strong, believe.”

He knew that in order to let go completely, he’d have to sacrifice the ring too.

But he couldn’t do it. Even as the city shrunk away, the familiar houses and buildings disappearing, the lights dimming into the night, he knew that he couldn’t destroy her forever. Doing that would kill the only part of him that had ever been happy.

He brought the ring to his lips and kissed it gently. “I love you,” he murmured to himself, his sapphire eyes showing a medley of emotions. “Goodbye – because I love you.”

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