“You know, I could see you living here one day.”
I glance over at my friend who’s got his eyes trained towards the blue sea as we cruise along the snaking highway, soaking in the surrounding beauty that is the island of Maui. Ever since we have arrived, there has been a sort of peace overwhelming all of my senses and I know he feels it too. The laid-back lifestyle, the perfect weather, even the mannerisms of the locals I see him taking in quietly. It is in this very moment that I know I will lose my best friend to the unexplainable, yet persistent pull of Hawaii.
Almost exactly a year later, my prediction came true. I said goodbye to Bill this weekend for at least another winter until I can make my way out to the islands once more. How thrilling it must be, purchasing a one way ticket and packing everything one can carry in a small suitcase to start a new life. I can’t even find it in me to cry, our parting was quick and dry-eyed as I knew this would not be a goodbye forever, just for a long while. Never have I been so excited for another person to move to an area I couldn’t just simply drive a few hours to visit. This is a new adventure for you Bill and I cannot wait to see glimpses of your new life through snapshots and status updates.
What is one to do when their rock of a human being leaves the mainland? How I will miss your strange stories and the crisp sound of another beer being cracked open. Over the days I was with you, I caught myself pausing certain moments throughout the day, knowing I’ll look back and appreciate the breakfast at your sister’s new home, or you and your dad standing side by side at the grill. I became fascinated in observing the lifestyle you have come to know for the past twenty three years, the one you’d be leaving in a few short days, to something more exotic. Gone are the slight southern accents your family all seems to possess, the evening barbecues on the hand-built outdoor patio, or the loving nudges from your mom when you think she’s nagging. God, that woman loves you more than you will ever realize, please remember to call her from time to time.
Who will you be in your new life? I know you simply as Bill, the boy who lives in a log cabin in the woods and drinks his weight in Miller High Life. The home will change, but will the very things that define you remain the same?
I hope this life change is exactly how you hope it will be, if not more. I know you will never again return to the rest of the states in search of a place of residence, I have permanently lost you to the never-ending sun and sky. But this is not the end of our story, it can’t be. I cannot imagine slowly drifting away from one another, finding ourselves confused as to how we were so close at one point. I hope you make friends, even if just a few. I hope you meet a girl, a good one for a change, and fall in love. I hope she loves you back. There is so much I want for you, a man never wavering from your set ways, but continuously surprising me every step of the way.
How different we are from the bright-eyed graduates that wanted to make our marks on the world. The constant hustle accompanied by the ever-present silence from the dried up contacts given to us from professors swearing they’ll turn into something more. How the fire underneath our haunches never seemed to burn out, despite constant rejection. Where did those kids go? Are the adults that replaced them better, more evolved, or just simply tired? God, I really do wish this all will work out for you. It has to.