Or maybe good bye is a bit dramatic… but it is a bit of a good bye.
My friend K left today, she is moving west to begin her PhD work, and I am already missing her. I feel that we met too late. She is a cyclist too, so I have seen her around and known of her for a long time already, yet I never paid attention. It wasn’t until earlier this year that we really met, and it was one of those rare occasions that you meet someone and you know them at once, you become friends instantly.
I admire her. She is an impressive woman. She just retired as a captain of the Marines, and she is the second woman ever to become a Cobra helicopter pilot. She has almost been killed several times while deployed, and she is also a cancer survivor. She broke the jaw of her superior when he tried to sexually assault her. She is a category 1 bicycle racer (that is, semi pro), and is leaving now to start her PhD. She also loves dogs. She is just awesome, and I regret that I had so little time to get to know her, to have her in my life. I feel somewhat cheated.
Funny talking about what an amazing woman she is. Thinking about it reminds me of an occasion she told me about, when she met this other woman cyclist from our community. Upon K saying that she was a Marine, the woman replied “But not a real one, right?” Yeah, as opposed to, hmmm, I don’t know, a “fake” Marine? That felt kind of offensive, dismissive of K's life, especially since it was coming from another woman; a woman who did not even bother to find out who K really is and all she has accomplished in her life before assuming that she could not be a “real” Marine. Whatever, none of us really know this other woman, but chances are that she has a tendency to say things that are not particularly smart and are particularly inappropriate. So, the entire “fake” Marine episode ended up being the source of more than one laugh for us.
Anyways, we've had more than one good-bye get together, including hamburgers and wine at my favorite dive bar on Tuesday. It ended up with drunken I-dont'-want-to-let-go hugs and "I love you"s, and the feeling of fear that it could be the last time we see each other. Because no one can stop time, she left today as scheduled. And it makes me sad; I am already missing her. But she is happy, she is starting an entire new chapter in her life, and I am looking forward to coming over for a visit and a couple of bike rides.
Good luck, K!! I am already missing you; you are an incredible woman and you deserve the best of whatever the world may offer you.