Origin Story

I can’t remember a single happy goodbye in my life. There is no such thing, far as I can see. I don’t know why people say it when it is so obviously stupid and wrong. Why would you want to leave a concert or your mom or your dad or your best friend or anybody? Leaving school is good, but nobody says goodbye to a building. Act like that and soon you’ll have no friends to say goodbye to, because everyone will think you’re crazy and avoid you like you’re not in the band anymore.

I am crazy, but it’s a secret so don’t tell anyone. I have to admit, now I’m thinking about it, I’m always happy to leave my shrink’s office. There are, in fact, moments of exuberant goodbyes. Don’t tell anyone I have a shrink, either, okay? My parents are divorced and they thought I wasn’t coping well because of all the goodbyes involved so they make me come to therapy.

My therapist is an idiot. He just sits there in his chair with his notepad and pen and waits for me to talk, like I’m going to spill all the horrors in my head, as if they will roll from my tongue like a tapeworm he can pull out with his silence. When I get tired of looking at the box of tissues on the table between us, I tell him my theory about goodbyes not being good.

He totally doesn’t say his usual “and why do you believe that?” Instead, explains, with out of proportion enthusiasm, that the word originated from the old English phrase “God Be With You.” So I say “namaste” and bow my head. He doesn’t get the joke. He is not on his game today at all. Inside I’m laughing. My mom has been practicing yoga forever, so I know “namaste” means essentially the same thing as “god be with you” depending on your version of God.

I ruminate a bit on how it’s kind of cool that way back when they were changing the lexicon in a very radical way. We are not the first generation to LOL. My shrink explains in painful detail, “god” was turned into “good.” BWY (Be With You) was turned into “bye” and ‘bye is what I want to say to this supposed therapist who is sucking on a mint and not doing a damn thing to earn his pay. I already have teachers endlessly cramming useless facts into my head. He’s supposed to make me less angry. He’s not. They’ve got me on medication and that’s what has stolen my rage. Even the guys in the band notice. They say I’m losing my intensity, but they take it easy on me because a couple of them have divorced parents too.

Rage was the one thing about this new life of goodbyes that was mine and of course they took it from me the way they took everything else. What nobody knows, so let’s keep this just between us, is that I flush the pills down the toilet now. Nobody’s caught on. When my rage comes back, I will keep it inside like all the other things I don’t want people to see. Maybe I’ll write a song about it. I think someone ancient already did a poem. Raging against death, I think he was. I can use his lyrics because way back then there was no such thing as plagiarism.

I know what that dead poet guy means, raging against death. Our family died even though we are all still alive. Goodbye family. Goodbye Mom. Hello Dad. Goodbye Dad. Hello Mom. It can get pretty monotonous in this head without the rage, but it will live again and it will be furious. Before the meds, I liked to feel rage building and then I’d channel it through my guitar, but maybe now rage will have it’s own way. Everyone knows you silence rage at your own risk.

 

10 Comments

  1. A simple word `goodbye’. Well, it sounds simple.
    But if we get it wrong there is no way back – & it can be very wrong – regret an inescapable burden, whether we ruminate on rage or longing… hopefully not in silence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a lot of fun writing this. I imagined a young man in his late teens, although I don’t think I ever said the gender or age. I also imagined what one would do if they bottled up their rage, in what ways might it explode? As I’m writing these “flashes” I feel a great freedom to let the reader fill in the blanks. After never quite believing I could do it, I find I’m hooked. Thanks so much for reading!

      Like

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