What's So Good About Good-Bye?
Originally posted 01-02-2011, 06:08 PM
Years ago, I worked at a job where I interacted with a number of local actors and actresses. For obvious discretionary reasons, I don't want to get more specific than that. In the process of one of the gigs I was involved with, there was a particular young actress that I had an opportunity to work with. In my opinion, she was, and is to this day, one of the sweetest girls I've ever been lucky enough to meet. We were a relatively small crew. All of us were guys. And I know that each of us felt similarly protective of her and enamored with her. Her weekly scheduled times with us were the thing I looked forward to the most every work week. To be clear, this was always strictly professional and never about any kind of romantic intentions. But to know this girl, you couldn't help but kind of love her.
As is often the case in the industry, for the purposes of "networking" and such, when gigs come to an end, contact information sometimes gets exchanged and you hope that you might get the chance to work with people that you've enjoyed working with again in the future. So, we did keep in touch for a time. If a gig came up that I thought she could be right for, I would suggest her name to the higher ups. I know she got some auditions based on my recommendations and she did get a few gigs here and there after. I'd be working on other things and we only would really bump into each other in passing on occasion but I was happy to see that she was getting work.
Of course, as you'd expect, she was also auditioning for many other projects around town. She was quite talented and I always thought she had a chance of finding some real success if given the chance. One day, I get an email from her in which she excitedly explained that she got a part in a rather prestigious local stage production and those of us who had worked with her and shown her the support that we did were all invited to attend. During the course of the rehearsals for that production, she would email pretty regularly with updates on how it was going.
So, during the rehearsal time for that production, one day she sends an email exclaiming that she got an audition for another very prestigious production. Except this one was a touring stage production. Congratulations and sentiments of luck were sent in return of course. And sometime before opening day of the local production, she learned that she got the role in that touring production. This would see her leaving the province for the run of the tour.
The day I had a chance to attend a performance of the local production she was in finally came. After the show, we met up outside the venue to chat for a bit. As the time came to say our fare wells, I remember that she chose to say, "Well, I guess I'll see you around."
Even as she said it and I went on to wish her all the best, I thought to myself, "No... I don't think we will." I was fully aware that she was off onto the next bigger and better thing and that if things continued to go as well for her as I hoped and believed they would go for her that it was more than likely that we would never see each other in person again.
Sure enough, to this day, we never have even so much as bumped into each other since. Sure, I've kept an eye on her career. I would make sure to watch whenever she made an appearance in some TV show or straight to video type B-movie. I even watched almost every episode of this bad series she had a recurring part in. And we did keep in very rare, occasional touch via email. But I'm no longer involved in that business and at this point neither is she.
I've thought of this often over the years. There you are. You have that moment, as bittersweet as it might be, to have the opportunity to say a true and proper "good-bye" to someone that you've felt some bond with, whatever the level of meaning that you assign to that bond, whether it felt like a really strong emotional attachment or even just a really pleasant aquaintance-like one. But instead of really facing that, you choose to pretend like it's not good-bye. Like there may be some possibility of seeing each other again. I guess it's just easier that way.
In my life, I've had closer friendships where I've just sort of lost touch with the other person where there truly was no intention of "ending" the relationship. You just kind of grow in different directions. Or you start associating with a different circle of peers. And one day, you realise that it's been years since you've seen or spoken to someone that was important to you at one time. It's odd that a situation like that doesn't elicit the same sense of loss as when you realise that you're probably seeing someone for the last time. When you're truly aware of the finality of it.
I've recently been in what feels like this situation again. And I could have made a greater effort to say a real and personal good-bye. I could've thanked that person for all that I feel like they've added to my life. Instead, we exchanged a few quick pleasantries and made no mention of how this was probably the last we'd see of each other. I did try to send an email afterwards that I hope let that person know that I appreciate them for the time we've been acquainted and that I really wish them all the best.
From our conversation the other day, I feel like that person is writing the last lines of the current chapter of their life. Maybe I'm a paragraph or two in that chapter. Maybe I'm just a line. But they are about to start the opening lines of the next chapter and I don't believe I'll be part of the rest of that book. But it's important for them to move on that next chapter. It's what that person needs to do and that person has my complete support. Like the song says:
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.