The Longest Goodbye

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October 17th 2013  |  2  |  Category: Philosophical , Romantic Love , True Stories  |  Author:  |  6366 views

“Are you staying?” I already knew the answer, the small, chilled word in my chest.

“No. I can’t.”

“You mean you won’t.”

A silent moment there, neither daring to touch the jagged edge.

He stared down at his hands, beautiful, smooth, “I just can’t.”

A blinding white-flash of rage rose up inside me. “GO THEN!” I grabbed my bag and rushed out of the cafe. He caught up and we walked in silence for some time.

“Starry starry night,” he sang softly as we walked toward the pier. I squeezed my hands in my pockets and pretended not to hear. Out on the water, a mass of gold and amber lights, glided slowly out of view. The horizonless harbour and sky were meld into one and I whispered a desperate prayer.

In a quiet world
oceans are perfectly still
and deep as the night

Moonless, tideless sea
feel this body of water
save us both in time

Then I heard the sound of our footsteps out of tune and knew the saddest story had already begun.

“This is killing me.” I said.

“Do you want me in your bed, knowing my thoughts are somewhere else?”

WHY? I couldn’t understand. He had filled my heart and mind, rocked me to the bone, I found it hard to believe I’d been in it alone. He said something I couldn’t hear over the waves beneath our feet. He touched my cheek and felt the tears. “DON’T!” I stepped back. He looked hurt and I was glad. “Remember that,” I cried. “Remember the last time you touched me.” As if he cared. Had he ever really been there? His version of love, a fleeting thing. Feelings that came and left like the tide, sweeping away… everything.

“Look at the starlit sky. A billion lovers are sighing. A BILLION liars are lying. Supernovas CRY, exploding… “


“…….and the stars shine down like a billion diamonds… knowing.”

“Bren, she needs someone.” So did I, but he couldn’t see, pain like water flows to the deepest well and I kept mine hidden and still.

A sudden shower. Sheets of silver-grey diamantes fell to become one. To become one. One. I turned and ran. He yelled, “BREN, WAIT!” but I didn’t look back. I ran home in the rain and discovered in the bedroom he’d already started to pack.


Cool morning light… blinds.
A lone, still remembered time.
Him standing. Shirt. Tie.


Sometimes I recall a summer night, alone on Scarborough Beach. Beautiful, without a care… we decided to sleep there, under a blanket of stars and January moon. The highway, a distant hum beyond the dunes. Warm breeze on skin. Squeezed, laid bare in hot ascension, with no apprehension, lost in our ocean-scented crush. I licked the salt from his mouth, felt the sand in his touch to the South, a sheer veil of lights under inked-dipped sky and we shone, shone, shone so brightly. Young neon hearts on a Perth summer’s night.


Breathe. I lay awake. Blue-grey branches sway. Washing line. Leopard-like domestic cat. All this time, his, mine. Deep breaths calm my soul and still my driven mind.

I know if he returned we’d lose each other again. He’s the rain against my window, the burn I tried not to feel for the longest time until only the feintest scars remain.


I ran into them at the club once, I remember. One August/September.. I was there to see Joe about some events, stitch up the dates, book the room. They were sitting at the bar.. a stripper and her father, anyone would’ve thought, drinking in the afternoon.

I said “Hi,” though she wouldn’t have known, clearly drunk or stoned or both.

“Tina’s here for the hostess job.” he said. I heard the broken heart in his voice and it struck me that he’d made a choice he knew would result in pain and hadn’t I done the same? And if we could go back, we’d seal our fates again and again and again.

“Adam, what are you thinking?” I took the glass from her hand, poured the booze down the sink. Frank would never hire a drunk to serve drinks. “Bring her back tomorrow, cleaned up. I’ll put in a good word.”

She looked at me with glazed eyes and smiled sadly. “You’re such a pretty girl,” I said, without a clue as to what her demons were.

“Thanks hon,” he said, helping her to the door. That’s what friends are for, right? I mumbled to myself.

Later, after our business was done, Joe walked me to my car. “He’s a fool,” he said. “Too stupid to see he had a girl of quality. God knows, you were out of his league.”

“Thanks, you’re sweet.” We hugged and he grabbed my ass on Murray Street.


That’s who he needed to be – the white knight for a battered psyche. I laughed so loud when I heard it was over. I laughed and laughed till my pillow was soaked and my stomach ached from crying and I knew then, that since the day he’d left, a part of my heart had been dying.

Now years later, he texts me in lonely hours, suggesting we meet at Galleria and other ordinary places where we could get lost in a sea of everyday faces for a while, but we both know I’m not who he wants and he’s not what I need.

“I don’t need saving.” I reply.

So that’s it, the longest goodbye. I merge into the sparkling sea of lights headed North on West Coast Highway, the endless ocean on my left and he and I somewhere far behind.


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