I am exceptionally bad with goodbyes. When my brother Ouel left for Canada in 2001, I cried for 18 hours straight. I know this because when he and his wife arrived in Winnipeg and they called to tell us, I was still crying. A year later, when I missed his birthday call, I locked myself inside the bathroom and cried some more.
I was only 11. Sure, things have changed. Maybe I wouldn't be as immature as I was now that my brother Paolo is leaving, too. And it's good that we were able to buy time (he was supposed to leave on May 1st), so one cannot say I'm unprepared, but I wasn't really able to make use of that time properly. It isn't intentional. We just get on each other's nerves a lot more than usual lately. May be a prequel to the impending Separation Anxiety. I've always been close to my brothers. And lately, as we make drastic decisions for each of our futures, I've been getting the feeling that maybe we really won't grow old together like we planned. Back when kuya Rammil, kuya Paolo and I were single, we used to joke around how we'll grow old together in our parent's house like our grandmother's siblings in Matnog. Now both of them are in serious relationships, and in September, we'll all be in different countries. Of course, the upside of this is that I will at least be with kuya Ouel. I had just imagined life differently, that's all. I grew up with cousins. I see a dozen to a score of them every weekend of my childhood, and I imagined the same for my own children.
I know I'm looking too far ahead. Maybe that's what makes goodbyes hard for me. In a few hours, I'll say goodbye to kuya Paolo. Somehow this reminds me of the other goodbyes I will soon have to make. To cheer up my despairing spirits, I think of all the good things that will come out of this decision. In my head, I tread the lines of Robert Frost's Road Less Taken. A bit cliche, but this was my dad's parting words to kuya Ouel when he decided to move to Canada. And maybe, these can also be my words for kuya Paolo's leaving. I know that this decision entails hardships and great sadness, but I am also hoping that this road's end will be as good as it was for kuya Ouel. Knowing it will be makes this goodbye a little less harder to say.