When I first read her online profile, I was struck by the question she posed: who is your favorite physicist and why? Then I was relieved that, although she lived in Alaska, she said she wanted to move to my state, North Carolina. I responded to her question with a fusillade against the scientific fraud known as the Big Bang Theory and expressed my interest in Plasma Cosmology.
Thus began an intense email dialog that led to long phone conversations and finally to more affordable Skype sessions. We became enchanted with each other. She wanted to come to North Carolina and live in the country and have chickens! I was thrilled. She flew down to stay with me for a few days and we drove to the coast to look at property. Although what we saw was lovely indeed, we decided that the mountains had a stronger tug on each of us than the coast.
She told me that she had been living with a man in Toulouse, France. She said that he was not the man for her but she still had personal belongings there and she had promised her kids one more trip to France. Because I thought we had a chance at a future together, I encouraged her to return to France, get her stuff and end it with the other man.
Before she left for France, I flew to Alaska and met her kids and helped her begin packing up her stuff for the move to North Carolina. After 27 years in Alaska, she had a lot of stuff. We professed our love for each other then I returned to North Carolina and she left for France. She was in France for several months. We were sometimes able to Skype when the other guy was not around but I missed her very much.
Finally, she returned from France. I flew up to Alaska once more. She adamantly refused to let me her pack and she did no packing herself. Instead, we went to see the start of the Iditarod sled dog race and the finish of the Irondog snow mobile race (it was 24 below in Fairbanks). We watched the Northern Lights and professed our love for each other. We went online to look at properties in the mountains of North Carolina.
I returned to North Carolina and the months went by. She told me the packing was going well. I waited and waited, confident she was making progress. Suddenly communication with her stopped. Her Skype status was offline so I could not call her on Skype. My phone calls and emails went unanswered. I was going out of my mind.
In desperation, I emailed her daughter. The next day I got a email from her. She said I could not get her because she did not know what she wanted and she had to be away from almost everyone. She was not in Alaska. She would be on the East Coast in the early summer. Her email was poignantly devoid of the affectionate phrases we had for each other. I quickly responded, asking if she still loved me and if she were still coming to be with me. No response. Silence.
Two months later, there was still no word from her. Recently, a Skype popup status message indicated that she was online for calling someone on Skype but it was not me. The presence of a cold dismissal and the lack of a goodbye leaves a deep ache in the heart. Being told you are loved until the very day you are excommunicated is a shearing blow that creates very jagged edges in the soul.
Goodbye is very sad. Goodbye ends future happiness and the meaning of past happiness. Because it shuts the door between lovers, goodbye does help both lovers move on to other happiness. The absence of goodbye, added to the absence of a lover, is a burden no faithful lover should ever have to bear.
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