What was supposed to happened on Thursday, May 19, 2016
After a week of me failing to get a ride to the airport, Joel came to rescue at the last minute, joking that I was a dork for believing that he was busy that day. We slogged through the slow commute to the airport, reminiscing about two years in the seminary, and bid farewell where we first had met. I would go on a two-month vacation before novitiate and Joel would start the next phase of his life beyond the seminary.
But it didn’t happen that way because I am an idiot. No matter how much I’ve learned over the years, I still managed to commit asinine mistakes.
What really happened that day
I had been flummoxed for days at obtaining a firm commitment from someone to bring me to the airport. Joel on Monday has said that he was booked that day. Brother Nate offered late Wednesday to help. I accepted.
On that Thursday, I packed up the last of my things and saw Joel exercising in the courtyard. I thought about going down and saying goodbye then. But I felt that he would see me off before I go.
At 11:30 a.m., I brought my luggage to the back door near the kitchen. I bid farewell to Zoila, the seminary cook, and waited. Funny, I thought, Joel signed out a car for noon, the same time I was leaving. Fifteen minutes later, Brother Nate came down. He asked whether I wanted something to eat, but I answered that I had a large breakfast. He retrieved the car keys and suggested that we go early. Joel wasn’t there yet and I left.
Joel texted me an angry message that I never said goodbye. It was only then that I realized my terrible mistake.
Living with the regret
I have mulled over the situation for the past few days. Saying goodbye is like burying the dead; you have ONE shot to get it right. I botched up my chance. I should’ve gone to Joel in the courtyard or asked Brother Nate to wait so I could say goodbye to Joel. I can’t explain why it happened. Maybe I was afraid to take the initiative because I would become emotional, and I preferred that people say goodbye first. Maybe I assumed too many things that would happen and didn’t. All I know is the following: The failure to say goodbye is the failure to be vulnerable. I left a friend a bitter taste at the end of a two-year friendship.