You Always Said We'd Meet Again, Someday

3 years ago

The other day on the radio I heard that song from Pretty in Pink. You know the one.

I touch you once.

I touch you twice.

And the kill shot: You always said we'd meet again, someday.

That line might summarize eighteen, nineteen, twenty and twenty-one for me. A series of leavings. Wondering if we'd stay friends, stay in love, stay in touch.

Watching people on whom we hung the future smile and wave and wander off until the phone calls and letters became memories and "do you remember" conversations and awkward introductions of people who were now our new everything.

And feeling—or at least I felt—so betrayed by others and my own self that feelings that were once so intense could flame out so quickly without daily fuel. Surely there must be something wrong with her or him or them or me that we could have nothing left to share but the past? Something that maybe should be punished?

You always said we'd meet again, someday.

But after the first leaving of high school and the second, third, fourth and fifth leavings of each successive college class graduating and then all the leavings of friends picking up their bags and loading up their cars and moving on with their lives in different cities or states or countries, after the stay-at-home leavings of friends getting married, getting divorced, having children, changing jobs and moving away, after all of these leavings, each one gets less personal.

I learned to say "goodbye" without having to say "see you again soon." Sometimes it's just "goodbye," and that's okay. It doesn't mean there was a betrayal.

Maybe that's why when I hear that one song from Pretty in Pink, I'm nineteen years old and hurt again by those words that I no longer attach to any one person but maybe to all of them, all of those people who left, even me.

You always said we'd meet again, someday.

Rita Arens is the author of the young adult novel The Obvious Game & the deputy editor of BlogHer.com. Find more at www.ritaarens.com.

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