I say goodbye everyday, Bye Mom, Bye Boss at work, Bye to my poodles as I am locking you in the guest room until you stop jumping all over the couches like mountain goats on LSD. Those goodbye are easy to brush off, like raindrops or Shirley Temples with too much grenadine. But there are other farewells that cling to you defiantly; a symbiotic relationship of comfy nostalgia and slight masochism where your only recourse is breaking out the vices.
I can remember only certain details about those kind of goodbyes. I remember watching the gray morning light make its way through the cracks in the blinds. I remember how the asphalt was still warm when I stood on it barefoot. I remember the clerk at the gas station commenting on my legs.
When my father left, he took parts of the house with him. Pans, silverware, linens. But what I can recall very clearly is coming home from school and seeing the tan leather recliner missing from its corner. My parents bought that chair when we first moved to Folsom, and friends of theirs would always remark on its quality or how comfortable it was. It had an ottoman as well, I remember my father reclining in it royally when we watched movies.
I have no memory of my father leaving, but I do remember the missing chair. It was, in many ways, like my father. Removed, handsome, wanted, and cozy like home. It was significant in its own way.
I think that is the melodrama of goodbyes: when inanimate and seemingly meaningless things suddenly become the only handholds to important memories. And I know I speak very diva-like about emotions and moments and melodrama, but the truth is it's all very simple. When you can't bear to say goodbye to the actual entity, you instead say goodbye to something disposable.
Perhaps this is why, seven years later, I can only remember the look of the light on the water, rather than the look of goodbye on his face.