As mentioned in a previous post, I am going to divulge the details from my past, well since graduating high school, up until this point. This June marks my 4th anniversary as an Ohio U alum, and therefore I feel the need to look back on all of my Junes, beginning with June 2002- when I graduated from my alma mater, Hampton High School.
June 2006: This was me four years ago, with my Bafafa, Jenni. (Bafafa was our cute little nickname for BFF. Don’t hate.) Much to my dismay and hopes for a miracle to happen, graduation day was going to happen for this girl. GRRrrrrr….but we still had a few days to live it up in Athens. Unfortunately though, the goodbyes were beginning because about half of my friends weren’t seniors and therefore left for summer break during the week of graduation.
I don’t remember much about the Wednesday of graduation, other than the fact that my first dreaded goodbye was forced to take place. Libby was leaving. My Libby. My best friend and confidante for all of my three years in Athens. She gave me strength when I was weak, and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself; and vice versa. I can say so much more about Libby and what she has always meant to me, but think both of these quotes explain our friendship perfectly-
If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… i’ll always be with you. (Winnie the Pooh)
That was what I remember most about my Wednesday, and honestly, I could be mistaken and Libby may have left on Thursday morning/early afternoon instead. No matter what, I know that she was not around to join us out on Thursday night.
A large majority of the underclassmen had finished up by Thursday evening, but Court Street was still alive with for Thursday night fun. Soon-to-be graduates filled the bars for another final night out with their underclassmen friends, and I was no exception. Mike, Rebecca, and Phill joined me (all pictured here) to begin the night at BDubs, with Brandon, Mike Wagner, Matt, and Joe- amongst others perhaps?- meeting us later on. Emotions were flowing that night as our undergrad friends began with their “I cannot imagine OU without you.” It’s exactly how I felt the previous year when Sarah, Kristin, Ruth, and Carrie left…but that made me realize that they’d be okay, even if they didn’t have me to keep them all on track. (Sidenote: And they did manage.)
After a few drinks at Bdubs, we made our rounds to the other bars, eventually making to Tony’s. By that time Joe, Ben, and Quinn had joined us, and after some alcohol and coercing from Rebecca, I decided to place a call to a certain boy…without anything, even Joe, knowing. He was at another bar with his friend and sound pretty drunk, and as luck would have it my cell cut him off. For some reason I couldn’t call him back. All I could think was, Is that our goodbye?
Rebecca being the wonderful and supportive friend that she has always been, kidnapped me to get a Girl Scout Cookie shot over at The Pigskin- a favorite drink and bar of ours over the years. I had to include this photo of us from one of our first weeks at OU. How young do we look?!
After calming down with Rebecca and a mellowing out with the shot, we headed back to Tony’s to join the others…when fate intervened. From what I remember, Rebecca said his name and I turned around only to look directly at him standing right behind me. Our eye contact remained constant from that moment on…
That’s one of the things I remember about the night, and the fact that very few words were spoken between us although so much seemed to be said. (Chills.) I wish I could what he was thinking in that moment…really thinking… not just what I perceived him to be thinking nor what I hope that he was thinking…because those could be two entirely different things for all I know.
Looking back, years later, I could have said so much- out loud. Words that I’ve thought about for years before that moment and since, but instead I said…nothing. I didn’t even say goodbye. I couldn’t say goodbye. Nor, could I watch him walk away. I stood there, staring across the street, not permitting myself to turn my head to get one last glimpse of him. I knew myself well enough to know that the image of him walking away would haunt me forever, and that wasn’t the last image I wanted of him. I wanted it to be him looking at me, with a huge smile on his face and tilting the stupid hat from Wal-mart that was on my head that night- the $10 hat that I told Brandon I’d wear for him that night.
That was the last time I saw him…and I fear that it may be the last one entirely.
Now let me say that I loved The Notebook long before the whole Casey-Kristen love story ever began. I’m a girl, of course I love it. But after this boy entered my life and caused it to spin our of control, I perceive the Noah-Allie story so differently…understandably so. I emphasize with these characters more than I even thought a person could. This letter, the first letter, that Noah writes to Allie, says the things that I’ve felt for a few years now- even during the most painful days.
My Dearest Allie. I couldn’t sleep last night because I know that it’s over between us. I’m not bitter anymore, because I know that what we had was real. And if in some distant place in the future we see each other in our new lives, I’ll smile at you with joy and remember how we spent the summer beneath the trees, learning from each other and growing in love. The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to you forever. I love you. I’ll be seeing you. Noah
The title of this post comes from lyrics to Goodbye to You by Michelle Branch, and I find it very fitting for the thoughts and feelings that I had during this time. And the same goes for the line in The Notebook that I just shared. The combination of these two explain how I was feeling at the time, or I can just say that I was a big mess of emotions and anxiety. I believed in something for 3 years…something that made a fool of me…something that a part of me still believe 4 years later. And as much pain and heartbreak that I’ve experienced because of it, I can say that it was worth it since I got to experience a love like this. A love like the movies.
Quote for my friends: Even though we’ve changed and we’re all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we’ll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not all still friends.
As my dear friend, Mike Wagner, once said to me, We’ll always have Athens.