I never said “goodbye” to him. Now, thirty years after he passed I find myself thinking about him more and more. He was a favorite person when I was growing up. Such conversations we had, about everything! Then he disappeared.
I fell into a depression. My grades suffered the year following, the year I took public exams, a university requirement. I should have been able to get at least an A and two Bs. Instead I got two Cs and a bare pass. I did not go to university.
As I look more closely at this person whom I sat on a pedestal when young, I find, of course, that he was a fallible human being. For one thing, he did not take me seriously. I remember once I made some remark, and inadvertently embarrassed him. When I asked him what I’d done, he blew it off. But I knew something was wrong. I thought over what had occurred and was genuinely puzzled. What had I said to upset? I asked him again. He told me not to worry. And that kindness hurt.
But he came from a culture that valued politeness above all else. Sometimes it seems to me that this value set on civility prevented people from engaging with each other. We passed each other as ships in the night in a sea of civility…and loneliness.
–Cynthia Haggard writes short stories, novels and poetry. During the day, she is a medical writer and owns her own business. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. For more about her medical writing services, go to clarifyingconcepts. (c) 2009. All rights reserved.