All I say is goodbye.

by Sam Martin

An era of my life is coming to a close in ten days. When the sun rises on Wednesday, November 28th, my friend Luke, my dog Dray, and I will pull the Jeep onto Interstate 10. That will be the final sentence on the last page of my little novel’s Los Angeles chapter.

The end of a such a chapter is always a strange time. I remember the end of college, when I was getting ready to leave Chicago. I felt an enormous sense of freedom and relief, knowing that I had finally graduated–something that was at no point a sure thing. All the possibilities of life were in front of me. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew I could try any of it.

Joy, freedom, relief.

There was also a bittersweet feeling that I couldn’t shake. Saying goodbye to the circle of friends that had become my second family and support system through the five up-and-down years of college was rough. I knew we were all headed on to great things (and history has proven me right), but what was I going to do without CMAC rehearsals, without Smug Bastard Movie Night, without Lem’s BBQ, without catch games at Stagg Field, without my BOYS?

And what about all the things I hadn’t done? All the ideas that hadn’t been put to paper, the projects not started, the girls I hadn’t kissed? I would never have the chance to complete it all.

Despite that, I knew that I had to go out on my own to become something greater than what I was. I loved Chicago. I could have stuck around, gotten some job, kept singing in choirs, and just chugged along for a while. L.A. offered me a chance to start over as a new man. No one knew me out here, no one expected anything from me. I could be whoever I say I am.

The last three years have been filled with some incredible strikes and gutters, but more good frames than bad. I have built a life that I really do love here, and made friendships and relationships that I will never lose. The time is here again to leave and build something bigger. But just like last time, it’s very hard to say goodbye.

This has truly been the strangest, most wonderful, bittersweet month of my life. I’ve never felt so loved and appreciated than I do right now. Everywhere I turn, someone is telling me how much I mean to them, the difference I’ve made, that they will, in fact, miss me.

Every conversation is becoming a goodbye. As November 28th draws closer, every time I see someone may just be the last. It gives my life a very strange, neverending sunset, feel. I try to give every person their due, hug each one like I mean it, promise to stay in touch. The emotion may soon overwhelm me. I love the people here, and I’m very very sad to leave them.

The future is bright, but right now, the sun is setting.