This is my apology. First, please understand that I had to write in my poor English for a reason I don’t want to explain why.
How do you say good-bye? I mean, how do you say good-bye to someone whom you are leaving behind, but you are not really moving on without? How do you say good-bye to a place you feel you are departing but still attached? I couldn’t find the answer, hence silence. Ignorance, rather. Dragging on for years. Then came another year, 2017, this time around. It’s been three years since already.
Why is that? Why just can’t I say good-bye?
I have had my wife and kids still living in California. I have bunch of good friends there for sure. But, I travel well. I’ve gone back often to be with the family and hang out with friends. Such an ease of going back certainly made me cringe to say good-bye and really mean it. So, I would rather not say it. But on the other hand, I knew I was missing something whenever I come back. There’s a little gap that I had to consciously reach out to overcome every time. It might have been just easier by saying good-bye in dealing with it. But I couldn’t do it. However, such part time presence just does not explain my feeling of predicament to my satisfaction.
I hung on to my California driver’s license. That has been my ID even long after it could be legally questionable. And, ok, I’ve been paying my California property taxes. Well, in other words, I kept my taxable property in California. But, is that possible that a man can be so pathetically materialistic? That just can’t be true. If I was such a case of sick materialist, why would I even bothered by not saying good-bye to anyone at all?
There’s a constant stream of postings on Facebook, of course. I see weekly boy’s night out getting organized right on my phone. It does give strong enough illusion of still being around. Have I gotten too comfortably settled with what I had, and those virtual presence satisfied that inertia?
Was it because of strong desire to come back? Maybe. But there was some strong urge to move on, I knew I felt it. And I did choose to leave after all, even though I really didn’t have to. So, was I regretting my choice? Or just greedy trying to take the best of both world somehow?
While I was not able to get a grip on it, the world moved on eventually. My daughter went off to college last fall, and my wife came over to New York to join me. It became fifty-fifty split family on each coast of America. I felt more balanced in life. And I got my NY driver’s license.
Still, deeply I’m torn apart. Should I go? Should I stay? No, that was not the question. Still the question is the same. How do I say good-bye? I’m not going back at least until this new chapter in my life runs its course. When would I ever be able to confront the truth and accept the reality that I already left? Would I ever get strong enough, or stupid enough, to say good-bye to all those people that were part of me for so long?
Speaking of saying good-bye over the long distance, it’s not the first time. When I left for America from Korea, I felt something profound. It didn’t hurt. I felt strong. I was not leaving Korea, but leaving for America. It was more of hello than good-bye. Much more. Only many long years later I realize what that departure meant to me in more somber way. But that’s another story.
This time it hurts right from the moment when I first thought about the departure. And I don’t like pains. Maybe I’ve been waiting for the weight of time to get me removed enough to safe distance from the pains of departure. I might have wanted myself to find out far away one day without ever saying good-bye to anyone.
Honestly though, looking back it’s been difficult years over there in Southern California. I felt myself lost so many times in the endless hours of commute along the I-405. I wasn’t sure I was doing it right for my family. Worked brutally long hours for a breakthrough that never came. I met so many good people I thought I could develop deep understanding of each other, but I couldn’t figure it out in the end. Played golf, but that was awful. Right? You’d understand, golfers. Wasn’t sure I should go for mountain bike or road bike. I wanted both, and couldn’t become a devotee of neither. Went up to the mountains to get lost in thoughts, and went down to the beach searching for peace. Was eager to become politically active, but remained too lazy in action. Always wanted to read more instead of just reading it more. Wrote some shitty things, if facebook posting counts. Was such a terrible gardener, but enjoyed somehow.
All confusion in my life seems to have happened right over there. You get confused enough, it even hurts for not being able to explain what your pain is. It hurt that much. One thing I’m sure is that with all my friends, I felt we were all trying hard to make sense of it all, life. Most of us seemed as confused with it as I was, but who knows. I think it makes so hard to close the door with so much love and pains behind when the door is not shut on you.
I’m still not convinced. But please allow me friends my good-bye now. Probably now or never. I choose now. Only after I close this door so painfully, I’ll be able to face the other way. I can try once more to figure it out, right? Thanks for bearing with my belated apology of not saying good-bye properly. I miss you all.