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Willow Wood, Epliogue... How to Say Goodbye

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

I stood in the living room, taking one last look, the suitcase weighing heavy in my hand. Warm morning sunlight filtered through the old lace curtains, diffusing onto the blue rug and glinting against the black lacquer of the piano. I could see the pathos vine drinking in the rays, its leaves reaching hungrily for the window. Lewis was sprawled across half the couch, so deeply asleep not even a train crashing through the walls could wake him. J was waiting on the porch, jotting notes on staff paper, keys in his pocket to take me to the airport.

I set the suitcase down and sat by Lewis, stroking his tousled fur into place. The refrigerator’s hum was sad. The house was filled with a profound feeling of heavy silence. There was nothing more to say.

Goodbye is inevitable.

No matter how uncertain life, it is certain that one by one, you will have to say goodbye to everything. Your favorite coffee mug will break, your dining room table with beautiful patina will grow too small and have to be replaced, your best wooden spoon will be burnt in half because you left it on the stove. Your oldest, most beautiful plants will wither. You’ll lose close friends. People you held as dear as brothers and sisters will leave or grow distant. Your monster-cat will die someday. So will people you love. And one day, you’ll leave the home you worked so hard to build.

I stood, straightened my jacket, picked up the suitcase. I could feel the house choke as my foot left the threshold, and at the same time I felt my own heart break. The hum of the refrigerator stopped for a heartbeat as I shut the door behind me. I stood there for half a second and took a deep breath.

Goodbye is inevitable.

But so is hello.

Hello, new favorite coffee mug. Hello new perfect wooden spoon. Hello new piano. Hello new dining room table. Hello new, little plant. Grow big and strong. Hello new garden. What adventures we’ll have together. Hello new wooden bear who reminds me of a Klondike I used to know. Hello new furry creature who wants to eat me. Hello new human, would you like a drink?

As Willow Wood disappeared into the protective shadow of the towering pines while the car wound its way out of the park and onto the road to the airport, I looked toward the horizon and smiled.

Hello, future.

I want to make a home in you, too.

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