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“If I don’t see you again, have a happy rest of your life.”

November 24, 2014

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Recently I was reading a profile of fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson which ended with this anecdote:

One time, during high school, Gevinson sat here with her friend listening to a mixtape of 60s girl groups on a battery-operated tape player. An old man in a blue parka passed them going in one direction, and then passed them walking back, when he stopped and said, “If I don’t see you again, have a happy rest of your life.”

That last sentence really jumped out at me. Here’s what happened when I took it out of context.

Man in Cafe

“If I don’t see you again, have a happy rest of your life.” Sarah pushed back her chair, threw a ten-dollar note on the table and walked rapidly out of the cafe.

Tom watched her until she disappeared into the lunch-hour crowds. He felt nothing. Perhaps he was in shock. He sipped his espresso and began to compose the story of their relationship in his head, rehearsing the little eulogy he’d soon be repeating to family and friends.

I suppose I should have seen it coming. We’d been growing apart for a while. Well, five years is a long time, especially when you factor in the transition from uni to the real world Phrases gleaned from movies and TV shows, and from his friends’ breakup summaries.

He imagined the sympathetic faces of his friends, especially that of Tamsyn. Her tawny hazel eyes glistening, her attractively bushy eyebrows furrowed in concern (Sarah had over-waxed her eyebrows to eerily symmetrical perfection).  Tamsyn’s hand reaching across a cafe table like this one, squeezing his own hand for perhaps a second too long.  Tamsyn’s ankle bumping against his under the table. Tamsyn blushing.

It’s hardly surprising that we started moving in different directions. But she’s a great girl. She deserves every happiness.It was important to strike the right note: gently regretful, with no trace of rancour. He’d mention Sarah forgetting his birthday last year (she was under a lot of stress at work, but still…), leave out the unfortunate incident with his ex after too much tequila at the out-of-town school reunion that Sarah couldn’t attend.

We just want different things out of life. Sarah’s all about climbing the corporate ladder, making lots of money, while I’m more into developing myself spiritually, being open to new experiences. Really, it’s all for the best. I’m ready to move on.

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