1 in 900: It’s not a goodbye

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Friday, Nov. 20, 2020

The hallways were so empty, yet overwhelmed with carton boxes and colorful luggage. Nothing was colorful about separation. Nothing was more overwhelming than parting after 10 weeks of living in a family. There was the girl who struggled to keep her dorm door open while forcing her packages out of the area. There was the other girl who was constantly weighing her bags, worried about the surplus. There was this guy who built an “open market” next to his room with all the snacks or necessities he was leaving behind. It said, “help yourself to anything you want!”

There was his friend who was sitting on the edge of the couch, staring at the wooden table, motionless. Then, there was me, strolling in the hallways, witnessing the hybrid movements that moved my emotions, that awakened my anxiety bits by bits. This evening, I couldn’t see properly, my tears were too dense, heavy enough to blur my path, to blur the sight of my best friend’s delicate traits, the last sight of my roommate’s black-and-white pictures on the wall. My roommate took her belongings and left a deserted room. She took a piece of my heart with her to Colorado. Looking at her empty room, my heart flinches, for I am grateful to have shared a space with her, shared a new little world of ours.

I couldn’t understand how time flies so quickly, as the dawn of Nov. 21 painted the California sky with pinkish tints. I was still awake, for I had not slept that night. My four friends were waiting in the lobby, masks on, eyes lost in the uncertainty of the goodbye. I said: “I’ll see you soon, thank you for everything.” My friend handed me some chocolate and candy, and hugged me so tightly that her perfume lingered on my hoodie. Walking toward the elevator, I looked back at the entrance of the building, and they were gone. No sign of my friend’s crazy laugh at 9 a.m. after breakfast. No sign of our 1 a.m. bike rides around the Oval. No sign of Taylor Swift music blasting in the hallways, accompanied by our ridiculous dances. Yet, a part of me was hopeful that the seven weeks would fast forward to January, to the moment when we will all reunite again. 



I went back to my half-empty apartment-style dorm, and the memories of the best 10 weeks of my life kept hollering in the silence of my solitude. I knew that I was not alone, I knew that, in my heart, their faces were still there and their voices were to become my serenade until we reunite again. I underestimated the way a tiny moment could alternate your feelings. It was this first morning away from my second family. It was this first morning I could not knock on my neighbor’s door. It was this first morning I did not drag my best friend to the gym. It was this first morning I felt connected to my friends more than ever, because distance would never stop the sunlight from reaching my window.

Contact Tiffany Saade at tiff24 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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