I stayed in DC for Thanksgiving and spent half of Wednesday volunteering for the Salvation Army. My official job was to register other signed-up volunteers (check their name off the list and give them an apron or t-shirt), which I did while having an intense 4-hour conversation with two of my fellow volunteers (one of whom is a delightful woman in her 60s who embraced me before I left, told me that she thought we were long-lost sisters, and who declared us new best friends). On Thanksgiving day I made a pan of cornbread dressing and ate more of it than I will ever publicly confess to. I thought of some really excellent ways to procrastinate grading the giant stack of essays I brought home. One of my friends and I watched Fantastic Beasts together, and by together I mean we went to screenings of the same movie at the same time, even though we are 10 hours apart. This worked very well, except his theater showed one extra trailer, so my movie was about two minutes ahead, which meant I kept accidentally texting spoilers. I went to Annapolis. I went to Alexandria. I finished half a dozen college candidate interviews. I watched Gilmore Girls.
I had to say a hard goodbye to a friend who’s moving away for work last night. Even though I’ve known I would have to say this goodbye for a long time, it didn’t make it any easier. I’m bad at goodbyes. I either want to avoid them altogether and sneak away unnoticed, or I want to prolong them indefinitely and create a spectacle of melodrama and too many words (which I stop myself from actually doing). The result is always underwhelming and full of things I mean to say but don’t. What feels like the real goodbye exists in my mind, but what plays out in real life is something else. It happens more than is fair that there are no words that would mean the right thing.