It’s hard to say goodbye to people you’re forced to become very close to, out of necessity almost. When the five of us met, we immediately fell into a close relationship with wine and movie nights in each others rooms, a trip to Amsterdam booked for two weeks after we’d just met, and Sainsbury’s dates every Wednesday. We were the only ones who knew exactly what it was like to be us at that exact moment – five girls who moved across the world for a semester in England, not knowing anyone, and feeling very, very alone and scared (for the first few weeks at least). We clung to each other, became each other’s sisters, travelled to 5 countries together, got drunk together, cried together, laughed together…and after 6 months saying goodbye seemed to be so empty a prospect.
I think it was hardest to say goodbye to the first one of us to leave, because it seemed to signal that the end was fast approaching.
Selfies on the bus to our very favourite restaurant, bordering on Lancaster and Morecambe – Barbar Elephant. It was our haunt every couple of weeks, on a Tuesday evening, where we often scored free dessert at the end of our meal because our accents drew in the attention of the waiters and got them talking. Our particular favourite waiter even once sat with us for a bit, chatting about long distance flights and holiday plans!
Thoroughly stuffed, we wandered slowly back to the bus stop, a little earlier than perhaps we’d planned since Ashley still had to pack some last minute things. Packing your life for the last 6 months into a suitcase seemed a daunting task for the rest of us!
“So my friend,” Maddie started when we sunk into the seats right at the back of the bus, “was asked out by this guy on Tinder and on his profile it said he was a Barrister. So anyway they start talking about uni and she goes to him, ‘I didn’t realise you had to go to uni to be a barista.’ She thought he made coffee for a living!”
We all burst out laughing, no doubt annoying the heaving bus full of passengers.
And then we were back outside the uni library, holding back tears as we feigned smiles and made promises I don’t know if we’ll ever keep – “We’ll visit you soon! I’m sure we’ll all be back together in no time.” And Ashley walked back towards her flat, and the rest of us to our own…
The sun was a glistening array of pinks and oranges melding together across the English countryside. It was tantalising. I ran to his window (we lived on the ground floor) and knocked on it hurriedly.
“Come outside!” I yelled through the glass as he drew the curtains back to see me.
A minute later we were rushing through campus from Furness across to the grass area between main campus and the gym. From our perch on that hill, we had a spectacular view of the sunset, and ran and chased each other around the empty grassland through the trees and back to our rooms.
A bittersweet evening xx